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Magnetic Logic: Electron spins could do cool calculations

Engineers have proposed a new design for circuits that could process information by using electrons as tiny bar magnets. Such circuits could someday become the building blocks of a new generation of computers.

Computer-chip components called logic gates output a 1 or 0 depending on the configuration of a gate's inputs. In conventional electronics, such bits of information are represented by electric voltages. Logic gates contain semiconductor-based transistors that switch states in response to those voltages. Such transistors, however, require thin insulating layers that tend to leak electrons and produce excess heat.

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