Russian scientists from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), A.M. Prokhorov General Physics Institute (GPI) along with colleagues from Germany and the Netherlands have discovered how to supercharge computer performance using terahertz radiation (T-rays).
In a breakthrough recently reported in the scientific journal,Nature Photonics, the scientists discovered a way to dramatically reduce the time needed for memory cells in hardware to set and reset.The joint research team discovered that electromagnetic pulses at terahertz frequencies with wavelengths of about 0.1 millimeters, i.e. between those of microwaves and infrared light, could be for memory switching. Terahertz radiation is often used at airport body scanning stations, the T-rays being capable of exposing weapons or explosives concealed under a person’s clothing without causing any harm to live tissues.
In order to discover how T-rays could be used for convenient atom state switching, the researchers created experiments with thulium orthoferrite, a prototypical compound. The experiment showed that terahertz radiation pumps thulium atoms into an energized state and alters the magnetic properties of both iron and thulium ions. The effect was that T-rays proved almost ten times more powerful than that of the external magnetic field. Next researchers devised a fast and highly efficient remagnetization technique, a solid foundation for developing ultrafast memory.
In these initial tests, the researchers chose thulium orthoferrite for demonstration purposes, but future experiments will use other magnetic materials. Anatoly Zeldin, the co-author of the study and the research assistant at IGP, claims that this study on the magnetization control is a breakthrough in this field.