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Leaning Nanomagnets for Potential Memory Chips

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 02:09PM

Flash memory has done a lot to change the state of electronics, as the medium is nonvolatile and much faster than traditional, magnetic HDDs. We are not done with magnets though, especially with the amount of effort being invested into spintronics that will enable computers to boot in an instant and use significantly less power. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have recently solved a problem they had in prior research that should help bring about spintronics.

The previous research concerned nanomagnets of tantalum, which the researchers found could have their polarity flipped by an electrical current, and not an external magnetic field. Magnetic fields are large and inefficient to make, so their use has prevented certain magnetic technologies from being integrated into chips. The problem the researchers encountered was that the nanomagnets had to be vertically stacked to pack enough onto a chip, but this orientation negated the polarity switching. It turns out that giving the magnets a slight tilt of even two degrees is enough to re-enable the electrical switching.

By creating a nonvolatile magnetic memory system that can be integrated directly into computer chips, it should be possible to significantly reduce the power consumption of a computer. This is because of how much energy is needed to transmit data between memory devices.

Source: University of California, Berkeley

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AkakmanH on August 06, 2015 13:22
It never ceases to amaze me how simple solutions can provide significant and often amazing results. Thanks for the article. Human ingenuity at work. :-)

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