Superconducting memory flip-flops in an instant

An exotic form of electronic memory made using superconductors could someday be used to make computers that work at unprecedented speeds, say researchers. The memory cell stores binary data using the direction of an electrically generated magnetic field, representing either a “1” or “0”. But superconducting materials experience no electrical resistance, meaning the cell can work with extraordinary efficiency, unlike conventional electronic circuits. The cell was developed by a team from the University of Technology Ilmenau in Germany and the University of Twente in Holland. Superconducting materials are already used to generate powerful electromagnetic fields in medical equipment and particle accelerators. Scientists have also previously used superconducting materials to make simple transistors – the fundamental components that the control the flow of current through electronic circuits – but the new cell is the first memory device.

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