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!
Controlling robots with brainwaves and hand gestures
20.06.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL
Innovative autonomous system for identifying schools of fish
20.06.2018 | IMDEA Networks Institute
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
21.06.2018 | Life Sciences
21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
21.06.2018 | Life Sciences