Spin transfer torque-RAM is really cool, so I’m going to talk about it really quickly. This post assumes that you understand basic terminology like RAM, or electron spins. If you don’t, no worries! Ask Google and come back later! 🙂
As improvements to modern electronic devices approach fundamental limits, we have to start searching for new types of CMOS devices. We can’t shrink MOSFETs down much farther due to quantum tunneling starting to have really big effects along the channel and gate oxide when sizes get down to around 10nm, so we’re beginning the search for other technologies to come take the space of traditional FET technology. Leaky MOSFETs are sad MOSFETs.
Typically, electrons should bounce right off “energy barriers” like wires and the MOSFET gate oxide. However, we must treat electrons in the quantum space when we start to get super small and quantum tunneling becomes a very real problem where electrons “appear” on the other side of the barrier due to the probability waves.
One of the cool emerging technologies is in the space of spintronic devices–in contrast to traditional electronic devices that use level of electron charge to encode data, spintronic devices use the intrinsic angular momentum of an electron. (SO COOL).