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Monday, 11 February 2013

Quantum Lightswitch: A New Direction in Ultrafast Electronics

Joshua Turner, a staff scientist at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser, delivered the Jan. 29 SLAC Public Lecture, "Quantum Lightswitch: A New Direction in Ultrafast Electronics."

Turner's talk highlighted research in manipulating atoms' electrons that could revolutionize computer data storage and retrieval. While today's computer hard drives rely on tiny magnets, which are a result of the direction in which electrons spin, Turner explained the novel concept of "orbital electronics," and how it could speed up data storage and retrieval thousands of times by controlling how electrons orbit the atomic nucleus. He also described how experiments at LCLS, which can identify ultrafast magnetic properties on the scale of atoms and molecules, may light the way toward such technology breakthroughs.

Turner received a doctoral degree in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of Oregon, a master's degree in physics from Boston University, and bachelor's degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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