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Jul 27th, 2012
'Rattle memory', new computer memory thanks to nanotechnology
Researchers from the FOM Foundation and Eindhoven University of Technology have successfully made a 'magnetic domain-wall ratchet' memory, a computer memory that is built up from moving bits of magnetised areas.
This memory potentially offers many advantages compared to standard hard disks, such as a higher speed, lower electricity consumption and much longer life. Using concentrated ion bundles the researchers have influenced the magnetic wires the bits move through, and they have successfully controlled bits at the nanometre scale and subsequently constructed a new memory. The research results will appear on the cover of the August issue of the authoritative journal Nature Nanotechnology and will be available on 15 July online.
Ion irradiation creates an asymmetric potential or 'ratchet' for the main walls (visualised as light-yellow spheres). The bit with a magnetic coating is shifted one position to the left by sequentially positioning a field upwards and downwards.
In a 0.5 nm-thick cobalt ring with a diameter of 12 μm, a bit (black) is coherently transferred in a variable magnetic field (~16 mT) in an anti-clockwise direction.
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