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!
Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers
17.07.2018 | University of Colorado at Boulder
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Life Sciences