IBM scientists may be waltzing their way to discoveries in semiconductors that could lead to smaller, more energy efficient electronic devices in the future.

They are calling the discovery “The Spintronics Waltz.”

In what IBM described as “a previously unknown aspect of physics,” the researchers say they observed how electron “spins” in a semiconductor rotate along a similar path in what they same resembled a waltz.

On Sunday, the team based in Switzerland along with researchers at ETH university published their findings in the online edition of Nature Physics.

A synchronization of them extends the “spins” lifetime by 30 times to 1.1 nanoseconds – the same time needed for a 1 gigahertz processor to cycle, the scientists said.

The EE Times noted the discovery could give a major boost to semiconductor advancement as chips become ever smaller.

“It is hoped that the use of electron spin rather than electronic charge as a fundamental aspect of data storage and processing could overcome limitations that are fast approaching due to diminishing device dimensions,” the publication said.

Playing off the waltz theme, IBM scientist Gian Salis of the Physics of Nanoscale Systems research group at IBM Research Zurich noted: “If all couples start with the women facing north, after a while the rotating pairs are oriented in different directions. We can now lock the rotation speed of the dancers to the direction they move. This results in a perfect choreography where all the women in a certain area face the same direction. This control and ability to manipulate and observe the spin is an important step in the development of spin-based transistors that are electrically programmable.”

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