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3-D Microchip Created

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3-D Microchip Created, illustration

Credit: Nature

University of Cambridge researchers have developed a type of microchip based on spintronics that allows information to travel in three dimensions.

To create the microchip, the researchers used an experimental technique called sputtering, which involves layering cobalt, platinum, and ruthenium atoms on a silicon chip. The cobalt and platinum atoms store the digital information similar to the way hard disk drives store data: the ruthenium atoms act as messengers, communicating data between other layers of cobalt and platinum. The researchers then used a laser technique called MOKE to probe the data content of the different layers. As the researchers switched a magnetic field on and off, they used the MOKE signal to watch the data climb layer by layer from the bottom of the chip to the top.

"I find it amazing that by using nanotechnology not only can we build structures with such precision in the lab, but also using advanced laser instruments we can actually see the data climbing this nano-staircase step by step," says Cambridge professor Russell Cowburn. "This is the 21st century way of building things — harnessing the basic power of elements and materials to give built-in functionality."

From University of Cambridge
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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