Nanodisc Magnetic Vortices Not as Simple as ThoughtCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 17, 2012 01:35PM
While solid state drives are the new data storage solution many are looking to for various reasons including speed, recent research may make magnetic storage systems the choice for many as non-volatile RAM. This research focuses on shifting from classical magnetism to quantum mechanical spin, which is actually the origin of magnetism. By making the storage system spintronic, greater storage densities can be achieved, while also requiring less energy. However researchers at Berkeley Lab have discovered that this spintronic solution may not be as simple as many believed.
The focus of this study was magnetic vortices in which the spins of electrons align in only certain directions. The spin at the center of the vortex either points up or down, while the spins of the electrons in the disk must be in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, making four different possibilities. Previously researchers believed these four states were symmetrical, which means their energy states were the same. The Berkeley researchers discovered this is not case, which means that a lengthy verification process would have to be required for writing and reading data from the vortices.
This is not all bad news however as this asymmetric behavior could be used to make a sensor or logic device. While using these magnetic vortices for data storage will be more complicated than anticipated, they have a greater potential than expected.