back to article 'Spintronic' computing gets closer with laser 'lectron discovery

Boffins in Kansas report that they have made a breakthrough in "spintronics" - the postulated future technology which might replace today's conventional electronics and allow much more powerful IT hardware. As the name suggests, spintronics uses the spin of an electron to store information rather than its charge. If it can be …

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  1. max allan
    WTF?

    Heisenburg?

    I'm a bit uncertain about this, but if we can monitor the electron's spin, does that mean we don't know where it is...

    Is it that junction that has a signal or the one next to it?

    1. Thomas 18
      Boffin

      Spin direction isn't the same as momentum

      Also I think you also usually know what nucleus the electron is flying around, otherwise it would be zipping off through space as beta radiation. Though it would be funny if your corrupted hardisk suddenly became radioactive.

    2. scrubber
      Paris Hilton

      Uncertainty

      Or we don't know how fast it's going (or which direction).

      Paris - she knows where it is and how fast it's going.

    3. The dog ate it
      Boffin

      Not spin

      It is only momentum and position that are related in this way, not spin.

      Well, not _only_ momentum and position, but they would seem to be the relevant conjugate pair in this case...

  2. Paul 25

    @max allen

    The uncertainty principal links velocity and position, not spin.

    The more accurately you measure the position the less accurately you know the velocity, and vice-versa.

    At least that's my understanding of it. I'm sure someone with actual physics training will correct me :)

  3. The old man from scene 24

    Spintronics

    The art of writing press releases about speculative technologies.

  4. Anonymous Bastard
    Boffin

    Quantum cryptography

    Since this is dealing with 'very small things' could electron spin (in a wire) replace polarised photons (in optic fibre) for secure communications and key exchange?

    Would love a physicist to comment.

  5. david wilson

    Implications...

    Has anyone thought of the hi-fi implications of electron spin?

    If people can be persuaded to pay a fortune for speaker cables specially made from wire with component strands supposedly drawn in a particular direction, allegedly to ease the flow of the (AC) electrons shuffling backwards and forwards inside them, surely someone can make cables with a special twist, to ease the flow of *spinning* electrons?

    After all, it stands to reason that electrons for the left-hand speaker should be made to spin in the opposite direction from those going to the right-hand one, and a central speaker should use a spin-balanced cable?

    1. The old man from scene 24

      Well, I wasn't sure

      But then when you said "it stands to reason", I realise you must be right :)

    2. Arnold Lieberman
      WTF?

      I have no idea...

      ...but I know a man who probably thinks he does:

      http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2010/08/18/can-sata-cables-make-your-music-sound-better/

      Malcolm Steward could probably venture an opinion on the subject.

    3. I didn't do IT.
      Joke

      Re: It stands to reason

      Reason stands for no man.

  6. Luther Blissett

    Did he really say that?

    > “We have been using the charge of the electron for several decades,” says physics prof Hui Zhao

    Welcome to the hyperreal world, Professor.

  7. illiad

    @ Luther Blissett

    hyperreal ?? dunno how you mean that....

    er, ANY guy who knows the physics of semiconductors will know, it is the 'majority mobile charge carriers' that enable diodes and transistors to work.... and this was around 1950!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiconductor_device#Semiconductor_device_fundamentals,

  8. Copyright Action

    Oh dear

    Never mind Heisenberg, just think of the FTL networking based on Bell's theorem. http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/kenny/papers/bell.html

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