Spin sensor of only 11 atoms

Credit: TU Delft/Sander Otte Lab

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have developed a spintronic sensor that is only 11 atoms in size. The sensor is capable of capturing spin magnetic waves and consists of an antenna, a readout capability, a reset button and a memory unit.

The device is equipped with an antenna, a readout capability, a reset button and a memory unit to store the measurement outcomes. The central idea of the invention is that it instantly detects a passing magnetic wave and remembers this information. The sensor is connected to magnetic atomic wires through which magnetic waves are transmitting.

Instead of using electrical signals, this technology makes use of magnetic signals to transmit data. Unfortunately, magnetism tends to get incredibly complicated, especially at the tiny scale of computer chips. A magnetic wave can be viewed as millions of compass needles performing a complex collective dance. Not only do the waves propagate extremely quickly, causing them to vanish in mere nanoseconds, the tricky laws of quantum mechanics also allow them to travel in multiple directions at the same time. This makes them even more elusive.

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