Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Data at the end of the Tunnel

19.01.2010
Electric control of aligned Spins improves Computer Memory

Researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the French research facility CNRS, south of Paris, are using electric fields to manipulate the property of electrons known as "spin" to store data permanently. This principle could not only improve random access memory in computers, it could also revolutionize the next generation of electronic devices.

This new kind of memory exploits a phenomenon called "tunnel magnetoresistance" or TMR. Two thin layers of a magnetic material are separated from each other by an insulator a mere millionth of a millimetre thick. Even though the insulator does not actually allow electrons to pass through it, some of the charge carriers still manage to sneak from one side to the other, as if by slipping through a tunnel. This is one of their quirky quantum behaviours. Another property it exploits is the intrinsic angular momentum of all electrons, which physicists call "spin". There are two spin states an electron can be in: either "up" or "down".

If most of the spins are oriented the same way in both magnetic layers of this TMR sandwich, then electrons tunnel much more easily than if one magnetic layer has mostly "up" spins and the other has mostly "down" spins. Such a component is used to build memory capable of rapid and repeated data writes, much like conventional memory, but also capable of permanently storing this data.

TMR-based memory known as MRAM has so far required relatively strong magnetic fields to write data, and therefore a lot of energy. As CNRS researchers Vincent Garcia and Manuel Bibes show in their work presented in journal Science, however, this could change. They made their insulator out of the compound barium titanate. HZB researchers Sergio Valencia and Florian Kronast used X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) to study the chemical composition of the magnetic layers of this sandwich.

The scientists can use an electric field to switch the insulator in a way that influences the electron spins in the magnetic layers either side of it, thereby influencing the electron tunnelling as well. Since the insulator keeps the same switched state when all current is removed, this model could be used to build PC memory that draws very little power and still stores data permanently.

Articel in Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1184028

Ferroelectric control of spin polarization: V. Garcia, M. Bibes, L. Bocher, S. Valencia, F. Kronast, A. Crassous, X. Moya, S. Enouz-Vedrenne, A. Gloter, D. Imhoff, C. Deranlot, N. D. Mathur, S. Fusil, K. Bouzehouane and A. Barthélémy

Dr. Sergio Valencia Molina | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.helmholtz-berlin.de

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>