Coherent Gate Operation For Next Generation Information Processing

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Researchers have devised a method for improved information transfer between magnons and microwave photons, which could lead to advances in signal switching, low-power computing, and quantum networking.

Gate driving is very important in electronics. Gates are essentially a controlling terminal in transistors that dictates the amount of current through the transistor. The performance of the entire circuit depends on the gate driver circuit and its behavior. Nowadays, we need faster and effective gate control that can turn the transistor fully ON and OFF in a few tens of nanoseconds.

Researchers at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) and Argonne National Laboratory have devised a unique means of achieving effective gate operation with a form of information processing called electromagnonics.

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Wireless communications use microwave photons that form electromagnetic waves. Magnons, on the other hand, are wave-like disturbances in an ordered array of microscopically aligned spins that occur in certain magnetic materials. They can also carry information. This discovery by the researchers allows real-time control of information transfer between microwave photons and magnons.

One can control the gate operation like duration of ON and OFF by controlling the magnon-photon interaction. In theory, rapid tuning can be achieved between the photon and the magnon. But such tuning has depended on changing the geometric configuration of the device. That typically requires much longer than the magnon lifetime—on the order of 100 nanoseconds. 

Using an approach involving energy-level tuning, the researchers were able to rapidly switch between magnonic and photonic states over a period of 10 to 100 nanoseconds. Using this method, researchers can control the flow of information and this allows for the desired coherent gate operation.

“We start by tuning the photon and magnon with an electric pulse so that they have the same energy level,” said study co-author Xufeng Zhang, a UChicago CASE scientist and assistant scientist in the Center for Nanoscale Materials, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility at Argonne.. ​“Then, the information exchange starts between them and continues until the electric pulse is turned off, which shifts the energy level of the magnon away from that of the photon.”

The work is described in the Physical review Letters.




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