US department of energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory invented the fastest electrical switching in magnetite- a naturally magnetic mineral. This scientific finding will enable faster, more powerful computing devices. Scientists used SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser to find that it takes only 1 trillionth of a second to flip the on-off electrical switch in samples of magnetite, which is thousands of times faster than the electrical switch used in transistors.
This scientific finding will throw new light on the electronic properties of magnetite. We already know the basic magnetic properties of magnetite. In fact, for the first time the speed limit for electrical switching in magnetite was revealed by this scientific breakthrough.
Scientists hit magnetite with a visiblelight laser, which resulted into the fragmentation of the material's electronic structure at an atomic scale, rearranging it to form the islands. The laser blast was followed by an ultra bright, ultra short X-ray pulse. It allowed researchers to study the timing and details of changes in the sample excited by the initial laser strike.
After adjusting the interval of the X-ray pulses, the scientists measured the time duration of the material to shift from a non-conducting to an electrically conducting state and observed the structural changes during this switch. The magnetite was needed to be cooled to minus 190 degrees Celsius to lock its electrical charges in place.
Who: US Scientists.
When: 30 July 2013.