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Scientists Develop a 100 Times Faster Type of Memory Cell

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A new type of memory cell based on superconductors would be hundreds of times faster than the types of memory devices commonly used today, according to scientists in Russia. Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and the Moscow State University propose creating basic memory cells based on quantum effects in "sandwiches" of a superconductor. Called Josephson junctions, the electrons in these sandwiches are able to tunnel from one layer of a superconductor to another, passing through the dielectric like balls passing through a perforated wall.

The researchers say the data in Josephson junctions could be encoded in the value of the superconducting current. They say the system could be switched from "0" to "1" and back again by using injection currents flowing through one of the layers of the superconductor.

The method requires only one ferromagnetic layer, so there is no need to create a new architecture for a processor. "A computer based on single flux quantum logic can have a clock speed of hundreds of gigahertz, and its power consumption will be dozens of times lower," says Alexander Golubov, head of MIPT's Laboratory of Quantum Topological Phenomena in Superconducting Systems.

From Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
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