Gaining control over the spin characteristic of electrons could pave the way toward smaller and less power hungry computers

'Magnetless spin memory' paves way for faster computing

Researchers from the University of Jerusalem have managed to gain control over magnetic properties of electrons to encode information.

In an article recently published in Nature Communications, the team led by Professor Yossi Paltiel describes an innovative method of magnetisation of materials that relies on electric current to magnetise layers of nano-particles.

Named the Magnetless Spin Memory (MSM), the technique controls the spin – a magnetic characteristic of electrons – to encode information into memory devices.

A device using this technique could work without needing permanent magnets, which has, so far, been the biggest obstacle on the way towards miniaturisation of memory gadgets. In fact, controlling the spin of electrons of materials used in such devices could enable using each nanoparticle as a single bit of information.

The researchers believe such spin memory devices could not only be smaller but also cheaper and less power-hungry.

“Now that proof-of-concept devices have been designed and tested, magnetless spin memory has the potential to become the basis of a whole new generation of faster, smaller and less expensive memory technologies,” said Professor Paltiel.

Currently used memory devices – such as disk drives, flash drives or RAM all have their respective limitations. Whereas flash memory is rather slow, RAM memory requires periodic updates. These technologies, however, have an indispensable role in all the vital gadgets of today – computers, smartphones or cars.

At the same time, the performance of memory equipment is a limiting factor for further advancement of the computing technology.

The University of Jerusalem team has partnered with several technology transfer companies, trying to figure out the best way to promote and spread their findings. They believe one of the greatest advantages of the MSM is its compatibility with integrated circuit manufacturing techniques, possible allowing for inexpensive, high density universal memory-on-chip production.

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