MeRAM to Supplant MRAM from Replacing Traditional RAMCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: December 18, 2012 01:26PM
A crucial component of any computing device is its high-speed random access memory which stores and shares data the CPU needs much faster than an HDD or SSD. Like other components in our computers though, researchers are working on a replacement for the technology which will be more powerful while using less power. One of these technologies is MRAM or Magnetoresistive RAM, but researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles has developed something even better; magnetoelectric RAM or MeRAM.
Current MRAM is based on spin-transfer torque (STT) which utilizes the spin of electrons as well as their charge to store data. This use of spin makes the memory non-volatile, so the data is stored even when the system is powered down, however it still requires a current to first be stored. That requirement limits the capabilities of MRAM as the bits of data have to be so far apart to prevent multiple bits from being erroneously rewritten. The new MeRAM design however utilizes just an electric potential or voltage to write a bit, which allows far less power to be used and prevents multiple bits from being affected when writing one.
All told, this difference in operation allows for a data density five times that of MRAM, while using 10-1000 times less energy. Luckily similar techniques and materials are need to manufacture MRAM and MeRAM, so the facilities for the first commercial MRAM devices could be modified to produce this instead.