Spin Waves

During research supported by the Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship three scientists developed a way to direct Spin Waves.

Scientists Andrew Kent of NYU’s Department of Physics, Ferran Macia of the University of Barcelona, and professor emeritus Frank Hoppensteadt of NYU’s courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences are excited about the progress their project has made. They have taken a huge step toward harnessing energy that is much more efficient than what we use now. Their wave manipulation has the potential to improve information processing throughout the technological world.

Their method is to use Spin Waves in ways that they are normally not. Physically Spin Waves look like the waves that form on the surface of the ocean; but they act like the electromagnetic waves found in light and radio. They can move through magnetic materials. These combined attributes mean that when harnessed, Spin Waves will transfer energy and information with speed and efficiency incomparable to what we use now.

Current technology allows scientists to convert the electromagnetic waves of antennae into Spin Waves. The process takes a long time though and produces waves that are longer than they should be. Shorter waves can move over greater distances than longer ones, and more quickly with less energy. Shorter waves are an opportunity to improve electronic devices but larger ones are a convoluted way to get the same results we already have.

So what Kent, Macia, and Hoppensteadt did was find a way to use Spin Waves that have already formed. They developed STNO: Spin Torque Nano-Oscillators. These are nanoscale devices that control the interference of Spin Waves to create the propagation patterns needed to influence the waves they are interfering with. With the interference they can make the Spin Waves go whichever direction they want. The oscillators create arrays that direct Spin Wave energy in the same way that antennae direct electromagnetic waves.

Their research was funded by the Army Research Office and Neurocirc LLC. With other grants and innovative ideas, this great discovery will become the first step to a new world of information sharing, communication technology, and computer science.

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