MESO Project

New quantum material could take computers beyond semiconductors

Researchers from Intel Corp. and UC Berkeley are looking beyond current transistor technology and preparing the way for a new type of memory and logic circuit that could someday be in every computer on the planet.

In a paper appearing online Dec. 3 in advance of publication in the journal Nature, the researchers propose a way to turn relatively new types of materials, multiferroics and topological materials, into logic and memory devices that will be 10 to 100 times more energy-efficient than foreseeable improvements to current microprocessors, which are based on CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor).

The magneto-electric spin-orbit or MESO devices will also pack five times more logic operations into the same space than CMOS, continuing the trend toward more computations per unit area, a central tenet of Moore’s Law. The new devices will boost technologies that require intense computing power with low energy use, specifically highly automated, self-driving cars and drones, both of which require ever increasing numbers of computer operations per second.

Topics: Berkeley Engineering in the News, Materials science, Computing, Devices & inventions, Industry