Collaboration group Aarts and Intel (Leiden University/LION)


(By: Leiden University/LION) Physics professor Jan Aarts starts a collaboration with chip manufacturer Intel to perform fundamental research in low-power, cryogenic computing.

Superconducting computers, if proven viable in the future, could ease the burden on the environment. Present-day computers need much energy, which in turn produces considerable amounts of CO2. Although superconducting computers need to be constantly cooled to keep working, the energy balance might strike in their favor because currents run through the wires without any resistance.

One challenge here is to develop memory elements for such computers. Aarts’ research group is studying possible routes to these devices by combining superconductors and ferromagnets. After demonstrating it is possible to have superconducting currents flow in magnetic materials over long distances, Aarts is now initiating a three-year project, sponsored by Intel, to try to influence the magnetic state of tiny magnets with such a supercurrent. In computer terms, this translates to writing a bit from ‘1’ to ‘0’.