For the first time researchers have created a working prototype of a
radical new chip design based on magnetism instead of electrical
As transistor-based microchips hit the limits of Moore’s Law, a
group of electrical engineers at the University of Notre Dame has
fabricated a chip that uses nanoscale magnetic "islands" to juggle the
ones and zeroes of binary code.
Wolfgang Perod and his colleagues turned to the process of magnetic patterning (.pdf) to produce a new chip that uses arrays of separate magnetic domains. Each island maintains its own magnetic field.
Because the chip has no wires, its device density and processing
power may eventually be much higher than transistor-based devices. And
it won’t be nearly as power-hungry, which will translate to less heat
emission and a cooler future for portable hardware like laptops.
Computers using the magnetic chips would boot up almost instantly.
The magnetic chip’s memory is non-volatile, making it impervious to
power interruptions, and it retains its data when the device is