Two weeks ago I posted about the Nobel Prize winners in physics, who won it for their research on inexpensively producing graphene. Since then, the computing/engineering/science world has been abuzz about this new wonder-structure, and for good reason.
As you well-know, and possibly don’t even notice because of how fast it can be nowadays, all computers have to boot from a powered-down stage. This is partially because, in order to compute at an acceptable speed, your PC has to transfer data from the hard drive to your RAM, which is significantly faster to read and write data, but loses its memory when it’s not powered.
Basically, RAM is a tiny hard drive (sold in 1GB or 2GB chips) which is used for things your computer needs access to very rapidly.
This is in addition to various diagnostic checks your computer does to make sure everything is in working order.
Well, it looks like there may be a way around this boot process, now. Still in development, “spin” computing uses an electron’s spin to remember data when the computer is barely powered. This would essentially reduce a computer’s power consumption enough that it could remain powered all the time.
This technology may be around in as little as five years.
Here’s what appears to be the origin of this news. The scholarly journal, Physics Review Letters. And my other sources:
And according to this Popular Science article dump (written before my previous blog post!), graphene has a number of other uses:
- 100GHz transistors which could lead to ultra-fast processing units.
- Better batteries which could charge significantly faster (minutes).
- Significantly better antibacterial bandages, better food packaging, and stink-resistant shoes.
- Graphene under stress behaves like a magnet that is 300 Teslas in power (the record right now is 85).
- The material can spin, and remain stable, at 60 million RPMs. Use your imagination.
- A type of light which could be even more efficient (and cheaper) than OLEDs.
This material is quickly-entering the Engineer’s repertoire of tools they can use.