University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered a new way to switch the polarization of nanomagnets, paving the way for high-density storage to move from hard disks onto integrated circuits.
The advance, to be reported Monday, Aug. 3, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could lead to computers that turn on in an instant and operate with far greater speed and significantly less power.
A research team led by Sayeef Salahuddin, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has found that a slight tilt of the magnets makes them easy to switch without an external magnetic field. This opens the door to a memory system that can be packed onto a microprocessor, a major step toward the goal of reducing energy dissipation in modern electronics.
"To reduce the power draw and increase the speed, we want to be able to manufacture a computer chip that includes memory so that it is close to the computational action," said Salahuddin. "However, the physics needed to create long-term storage are not compatible with integrated circuits."
Creating and switching polarity in magnets without an external magnetic field has been a key focus in the field of spintronics. Generating a magnetic field takes power and space, which is why magnets have not yet been integrated onto computer chips.
Instead, there are separate systems for long-term magnetic memory. These include a computer's hard disk drive where data are stored, and the various kinds of random-access memory, or RAM, on the integrated circuits of the central processing unit, or CPU, where calculations and logic operations are performed.
A large portion of the energy used in computing is spent on transferring data from one type of memory to another. Doing that quickly takes more energy and generates more heat.
In past research, Salahuddin and his colleagues found that directing electrical current through the rare metal tantalum creates polarity in magnets without an external magnetic field. But the battle wasn't over.
Packing a sufficient number of nanomagnets onto a chip meant aligning them perpendicularly, but that vertical orientation negated the switching effects of tantalum.
"We found that by tilting the magnet - just 2 degrees was enough - you get all the benefits of a high-density magnetic switch without the need for an external magnetic field," said Salahuddin.
The study's lead author is Long You, a research scholar in Salahuddin's lab.
The Department of Energy, National Science Foundation Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, and the Semiconductor Technology Advanced Research Network's Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering Center (STARNET FAME) helped support this research.
Sarah Yang | EurekAlert!
Smarter robot vacuum cleaners for automated office cleaning
15.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Researchers 3-D print first truly microfluidic 'lab on a chipl devices
15.08.2017 | Brigham Young University
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy