Researchers at MIT have devised a novel circuit design that enables precise control of computing with magnetic waves, with no electricity needed. The advance takes a step toward practical magnetic-based “spintronic” devices, which have the potential to compute far more efficiently than electronics. Spintronic devices leverage the “spin wave” (a quantum property of electrons) in magnetic materials with a lattice structure. This approach involves modulating the spin wave properties to produce some measurable output that can be correlated to computation.
The MIT researchers developed a circuit architecture that uses only a nanometer-wide domain wall in layered nanofilms of magnetic material to modulate a passing spin wave, without any extra components or electrical current. In turn, the spin wave can be tuned to control the location of the wall, as needed. This provides precise control of two changing spin wave states, which correspond to the 1s and 0s used in classical computing.
In the future, pairs of spin waves could be fed into the circuit through dual channels, modulated for different properties, and combined to generate some measurable quantum interference — similar to how photon wave interference is used for quantum computing. Researchers hypothesize that such interference-based spintronic devices, like quantum computers, could execute highly complex tasks that conventional computers struggle with. (MIT News)