Technology.am (Jan 20, 2010) — Washington: Scientists are by means of electric fields manipulating the property of electrons identified as “spin” to store up data everlastingly, which might not just develop random access memory (RAM) in computers, it can in addition transform the next generation of electronic devices.
The group of scientists consist of researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) in Germany and the French research facility CNRS, south of Paris.
The latest type of memory exploits an occurrence called “tunnel magneto resistance” or TMR. Two thin layers of a magnetic material are alienated from each other by an insulator that is a sheer millionth of a millimetre thick.
Although the insulator does not really let electrons to pass through it, some of the charge carriers still manage to sneak from one side to the other, as if by slipping throughout a tunnel.This is one of their peculiar quantum behaviors.
Another property it exploits is the inherent angular momentum of all electrons, which physicists call “spin”.
There are two spin states an electron can be in: whichever “up” or “down”. If the majority of the spins are oriented the similar way in both magnetic layers of this TMR sandwich, then electrons tunnel much more effortlessly than if one magnetic layer has generally “up” spins and the other has generally “down” spins.
Such a section is used to construct memory competent of quick and frequent data writes much like conventional memory, although in addition able of everlastingly storing this data.
TMR-based memory known as MRAM has so far required comparatively strong magnetic fields to write data, and thus a lot of energy.
As CNRS researchers Vincent Garcia and Manuel Bibes show in their work, this could transform. 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 utilize an electric field to switch the insulator in a means that influences the electron spins in the magnetic layers either side of it, thus influencing the electron tunneling as well.
As the insulator keeps the identical switched state when all current is detached, this model could be used to put up PC memory that draws very less power and still stores data lastingly.