Back to Home Page
College Home
University Home
Past Issues
Contact the Editor
Signatures Cover
Download PDF of this Issue
Changing Misconceptions about Engineering
Seeing the Big Picture
Talking Points
Taking Note
Making the Grade
Sharing Perspectives
Reaching Out
Staying in Touch
Changes in the Dean's Office Flying the Friendly Skies An ND First
New Titles and New Faces The Next Big Thing in Computers "Quilted" Circuits
Changing the Guard New ASME Fellow Top 25 Recognition
Instructor's Global Impact Inaugural Honor Professional Progress Award
Big Brother Biometrics Presidential Appointment Capturing Greenhouse Gases
New APS Fellow Magnetic Logic  

Magnetic Logic

Francis Bacon is credited with saying, “Printing, gun powder, and the magnet ... these three have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world.” Things might be changing again: A multidisciplinary team in the College of Engineering has received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Models and Technologies for Computation program to study the potential of lithographically defined nanomagnets within the Quantum-dot Cellular Automata (QCA) architecture scheme — using nanomagnets for computation. Michael Niemier (B.S., CPEG ’98; M.S. CSE ’00; and Ph.D. CSE ’04), research assistant professor of computer science and engineering; Gary H. Bernstein, professor of electrical engineering; X. Sharon Hu, associate professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; and Wolfgang Porod, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the Center for Nano Science and Technology, are investigating the viability of nanomagnets for signal processing and other applications by determining if nanomagnets can outperform CMOS systems for a given set of applications. Initial studies are targeting the environments most suited for this implementation of the QCA architecture, such as space and military applications that require very low power and are tolerant to radiation. Embedded systems will also be considered. Niemier and Hu are investigating circuit design, system-level architectures, and performance benchmarking, while Bernstein and Porod are working to fabricate design components.

In a related project, documented in the January 13, 2006, issue of Science, another team of University researchers (Porod; Bernstein; Alexei Orlov, research associate professor; Alexandra Imre, research associate; and Lili Ji, graduate student, in conjunction with Gyorgy Csaba of the Institute for Nanoelectronics at the Technical University of Munich) demonstrated magnetic QCA with nanomagnets holding information and magnetic interactions executing logic functions. This is the next step in the process toward an all-magnetic information processing system that uses little or no electricity.