Electron spin is an essential principle of magnetism used for encoding the logical bits that comprise conventional computer memory. Typical memory devices, however, require either a bulky magnetic reading mechanism, large operating currents, or are volatile. While spintronic devices rely on the magnetism of electron spin to encode logic, we can substitute one form of angular momentum for another, and look to orbital magnetization as an encoding alternative.
Separately, the modern standard of units is set by fundamental constants of nature, determined through a handful of sensitive electrical experiments. Among these, the quantum Hall effect defines the Ohm. Typical devices for metrology rely on high magnetic fields and cryogenic temperatures, which require expensive tests.
Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a method for using an electron’s orbital magnetic information to construct non-volatile computer memory with significantly lower power consumption. Orbital magnet systems allow for higher operating temperatures, which not only reduces their power consumption but also relaxes some of the requirements for expensive production materials.
This technology also provides an alternative to high ambient magnetic field-based methods of resistance metrology, as the orbital magnetization leads to well-quantized quantum Hall effect without an applied magnetic field, at temperatures several times higher than previously demonstrated.
quantum computation, computer memory, memory, spintronic, code, magnetic memory, resistance, metrology, measurement