Conventional semiconductor memory encodes data (1s and 0s) by whether or not an electron is present. But an electron itself has a binary property — whether or not its spin is "up" or "down." Researchers have now discovered a way to encode data with electron spin, potentially doubling memory with zero tradeoffs.
Based at Ohio State University, the scientists created a mix of organic magnets and ferromagnets. It didn't look like much (just a thin dark blue strip), but they managed to encode and retrieve data by controlling the spins of electrons on the strip.
Besides doubling the capacity of storage devices, the new method of encoding data would save energy. As anyone who owns a PlayStation can tell you, moving electrons around on a circuit board generates heat. Flipping an electron's spin, however, generates practically none at all.
More storage, zero heat, longer battery life… how do we fast-track this?