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Physicists Improve Spin Information Storage

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the is-it-the-future-yet dept.

Supercomputing 43

schliz writes "Researchers have made headway into developing spintronic RAM by successfully transferring spin information from an electron to a more robust atomic nucleus and accessing the information 2,000 times in 100 seconds before it decayed (abstract). The demonstration was conducted using phosphorus-doped silicon in a highly magnetized, low-temperature environment (8.59 Tesla, -269.5 degrees Celsius). Other researchers have achieved spin lifetimes of 30 hours in a weaker magnetic field (0.3 Tesla)."

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Does this mean... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34589324)

At long last, the Fox network can successfully document and store (some of) the enormous amounts of spin generated by its commentators. What I want to know is when will the spin^2 ram be ready so we can start working on the O'Reilly spin/spin found in his "spin* free zone"

Re:Does this mean... (3, Funny)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589714)

At long last, the Fox network can successfully document and store (some of) the enormous amounts of spin generated by its commentators. What I want to know is when will the spin^2 ram be ready so we can start working on the O'Reilly spin/spin found in his "spin* free zone"

Well, a spin-free (spin 0) particle would obviously be a Higgs Boson.

Therefore O'Reilly is the source of inertia, and has yet to be found in France or Switzerland.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589890)

"t long last, the Fox network can successfully document and store (some of) the enormous amounts of spin generated by its commentators.

CNN better not hope this technology [cbsnews.com] is perfected then I guess.

Re:Does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34590146)

Funny, I subscribe to CNNs tweets and never heard about the silly death rumor until I saw a message saying "CNN has NOT announced death of Morgan Freeman"... It seems all those people listening to bullshit twitter feeds and watching the trending topics are to blame for that one, and *not* CNN.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34590656)

Ha ha ha... I could tell you the sky was blue and you'd probably still say it was red. Troll on, troll.

Why not use Kelvin here? (4, Insightful)

SgtKeeling (717065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589408)

-269.5 degrees Celsius

This seems to me like a very appropriate time to use Kelvin. For anyone interested, this is 3.65 degrees Kelvin.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34589448)

This seems to me like a very appropriate time to use Rankine.

For anyone interested, this is 6.57 degrees Rankine.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34591740)

It is NEVER appropriate to use Rankine.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (2)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589478)

And 8.5 Teslas is approximately 2 to 3 times the magnetic field strength of a typical MRI machine, so this technology isn't quite ready for cell phones yet.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589872)

Pff, if they put it in cell phones I’m sure it would be safe.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34590464)

Approximately 2 to 3 times the magnetic field strength of a typical MRI

You just need one of those Cellphone Head Protectors, and at $30 it's a real bargain. "Between 20% and 80% of the radiation emitted by a mobile phone is deposited in the user's head. The microwave radiation is absorbed by and actually penetrates the area around the head, some reaching an inch, to an inch and a half, into the brain. Protect yourself by ordering our radiation protector."

Or just use speakerphone like I do, so you don't have to hold the phone to ya head and kill brain cells. (drinks 30th beer of the day). Yep.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (2)

samsanas (1960948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589486)

They're just Kelvin, not "degrees Kelvin".

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589522)

Now you're on the subject of units, why isn't the decay time measure in whatmeworrys?

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34590160)

They used the unit that people actually use, not the one for nerdy basement dwellers.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34590358)

Actually it's 3.65 Kelvin; there's no such thing as "degrees Kelvin."

But that's besides the point. It's a mass media article, and as such scientific accuracy/readability matters less than big, hype-inducing numbers.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34590774)

If they wanted to induce hype, they would have used Fahrenheit (-453.1 degrees Fahrenheit).

I guess in Australia temperatures are usually measured in Celsius in non-science context, and thus this is the scale people are used to. So with "-269.5 degrees Celsius" everyone knows "damn cold", while with "3.65 Kelvin" most readers would just have said: "huh?"

And everyone who knows the Kelvin scale can easily calculate the Kelvin temperature (because temperature differences are the same in Kelvin and degrees Celsius). Also note that, contrary to what you imply, -269.5 degrees Celsius is in no way inaccurate (actually 3.65 Kelvin is inaccurate because it claims a higher accuracy than given; 3.7 Kelvin would be the correctly rounded value).

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34593106)

Umm 269.5 has 4 signifigant digits.

3.7 has two significant digits.

The answers should be 3.560 right number of significant digits.

Re:Why not use Kelvin here? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34593164)

That's not how sig figs work when adding and subtracting. The correct answer has one significant digit after the decimal, because that's how many the original measurement had.

A lil too obvious (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589460)

Physicists Improve Spin Information Storage

Does that mean we'll be able to fit Rush's broadcasts from 2001 to 2009 on a floppy?

Re:A lil too obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34589864)

The information content of Rush's broadcasts is very low, therefore it should be highly compressible... thus should already fit on a floppy.

Re:A lil too obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34589920)

No. But we can likely put your very simple way of seeing things on a floppy.

Re:A lil too obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34590802)

No. Though if you were to stop the nucleus from spinning, then yes.

Formatting Issue, anyone? (2)

mistapotta (941143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589500)

... environment (8.59 Tesla, -
269.5 degrees Celsius)...

Poor choice of Line Feed location. I didn't see the negative before. 269.5 C didn't seem that bad.

Re:Formatting Issue, anyone? (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589824)

No... and what browser are you using that inserted a soft line feed there?

Non-Breaking Hyphen (Unicode) (1)

bazald (886779) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589948)

They should have used a nonbreaking hyphen. ‑269.5 C Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be supported. Still no Unicode support I suppose... Anyone have better ideas?

Re:Non-Breaking Hyphen (Unicode) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34594642)

They should have used a nonbreaking hyphen. ‑269.5 C Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be supported. Still no Unicode support I suppose... Anyone have better ideas?

Yeah, a better idea would be to use a minus sign (−). Not the same thing as a hyphen. And besides the fact that the minus sign looks better, in this case, the semantic distinction is actually the important thing.

Nice... science and politics again? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589510)

I thought we have long established that science and politics do not mix well. And now they are creating spin technologies? Is it really an improvement or is it, in itself just more spin?

Central European Weather Conditions (0)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589526)

highly magnetized, low-temperature environment (8.59 Tesla, -269.5 degrees Celsius).

Well, that pretty well sums up the weather forecast for here tomorrow . . .

Re:Central European Weather Conditions (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589702)

highly magnetized, low-temperature environment (8.59 Tesla, -269.5 degrees Celsius).

Well, that pretty well sums up the weather forecast for here tomorrow . . .

+1 lives on gigantic electromagnet

Re:Central European Weather Conditions (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34591572)

That's still not as cold as my ex-wife's heart, though.

Requires insanely cold temps? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589700)

I'm not a physicist, so someone please answer my (stupid?) question. Why is that ground-breaking technologies ranging from quantum computing, super conductivity, to now this requires insane levels of cold? Is it because this is pure theoretical research, and that practical materiel science and engineering comes later?

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (2)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589764)

Building a really big electromagnet requires superconducting materials because of the immense amount of current required to generate the electric field. If the material wasn’t a superconductor, the resistance would generate so much heat that it would burn up.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34590612)

Also (replying to myself, sorry), for what it’s worth, if you think that’s “insanely cold” you’re looking at it from exactly the wrong perspective. Cold is just the absence of heat. It just has very, very little heat. Almost none, in fact... 0 degrees C, by contrast, could be called “insanely hot”.

Heat causes noise and interference. Plenty of examples exist. You know the ripples you see coming off pavement? Heat. Electronics generally become less reliable the hotter they get. Etc.

Adding heat on the molecular level is like drinking a pot of coffee and then trying to do something that requires fine motor control with your hands.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (1)

Laukei (1099765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34590664)

There is that, but equally for applications that require no magnetic field, things that are hot have lots of energy. Energetic particles bouncing around everywhere couple to your meticulously-set-up experiment to the environment, destroying your isolated system [wikipedia.org] and removing the quantum effects you're utilizing.

For quantum computing, one of the requirements specified by the di Vincenzo criteria [ibm.com] are long decoherence times. Heat seriously reduces those.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34589790)

Subatomic things tend to move around when they get warm. Cooling them keeps them where they're put, it's easier to find them that way.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (2)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34590834)

Subatomic things tend to move around when they get warm.

The amount that subatomic things more around is the definition of warmth.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34596452)

> The amount that subatomic things move around is the definition of warmth.

No. The amount that atomic things move around is the definition of warmth.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (3, Informative)

grimJester (890090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34589980)

At least some of those are because quantum decoherence [wikipedia.org] happens faster when temperature rises. The time before quantum behavior turns into normal classical behavior is inversely proportional to temperature in Kelvin. (I tried to find something sane on Wikipedia, but all relevant articles seem to be written for experts...)

A more general explanation could be that new stuff happens at very low energies and very high energies compared to what we're used to. Cold is just low energy.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#34590236)

Subtle or tricky quantum-mechanical effects are washed out or destroyed at higher temperatures (all of the atom's kinetic energy that is what we measure as temperature). So anything new and quantum mechanical is likely to be done near absolute zero, since that's the easiest environment to work in.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34590884)

Roughly for the same reason why macroscopic technologies tend to work less well during an earthquake.

Re:Requires insanely cold temps? (1)

Zinho (17895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34591354)

Regarding electron spins, there's a really good reason for the insane levels of cold - electron spin transitions require incredibly small energies. Some quick wiki-ing [wikipedia.org] leads me to a value of 159.3*10^-24 joules to change spin at the magnetic field strengths cited in the summary. If I had to take a guess, the researchers are trying to keep the kinetic energy of the atoms being tested below that energy threshold so that the spin doesn't change randomly with Brownian motion.

Cooling Requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34595654)

Look's like I'll have to get a beefier water-cooler for my computer to use this type of memory.

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