Speaking of progress, let’s get back to today’s topic: Spinplasmonics. Spinplasmonics is a proposed field of nanotechnology that combines the strengths of spintronics and plasmonics, the two very promising fields of nanotechnology that might take computing prowess to unprecedented level. In a nutshell, spintronics is a field of electronics that deals with the magnetic properties of the spin of electrons, where one can change the spin of electrons using magnetic field and use the different spin as 1s and 0s. One of the benefits is that very little energy is required for this operation so heat dissipation can be kept to a minimum, thus computer parts such as transistors can be built on a much smaller scale than what is possible today. Another great benefit is that the parts would stay non-volatile, meaning any operation can be kept indefinitely until extra input is given (magnetic field, in this case).
Plasmonics, on the other hand, deals with the interaction between electromagnetic fields and electrons in solid materials. There are many potential use for this new technology, but for this post’s purposes, suffice to say that it can help to propagate signal along solid materials at nearly the speed of light. Think of them as data cable, but capable of carrying much higher volume and transferring at much higher rate than conventional data cable. Now, building a computer using spintronics alone, you’ll get one that’s consuming far less power than what we have today and also operates faster thanks to the ability to cram more parts into it (since the parts can be built smaller). However, there will still be a bottleneck: transfer speed of input and output. That’s where plasmonics come in. By using plasmonics materials in this computer, one can create low-voltage, high-density circuits that’s driven by light, greatly increasing the data transfer speed and volume within said computer.
Now, before you get all excited over it, it is likely that we won’t see this until the next decade at the earliest. Not that it affects my enthusiasm, but the wait is almost unbearable, almost. I do wonder though: when it does came around, are we capable of utilizing it to its full potential?
*image credits to this article.