Navigation Links
Beating the back-up blues
Date:4/3/2009

That sinking feeling when your hard disk starts screeching and you haven't backed up your holiday photos is a step closer to becoming a thing of the past thanks to research into a new kind of computer memory.

Physicists at the University of Leeds and scientists at IBM Research's Zurich lab have made new advances in researching a new kind of memory, called 'racetrack' memory, which could become the standard method of storing information on home computers.

Your hard drive is a metal disc made up of millions of tiny spaces, called domains, in which all the atoms are magnetised in one direction or the other to represent binary data. Much like a record player, the disc spins around until the 'head' finds and reads the information.

Racetrack memory, a concept invented by Stuart Parkin at IBM Research's Almaden Lab, has no moving parts - instead it is the information which moves. Using a kind of physics called spin transfer, scientists use electrons (in the form of electrical current) to switch the magnetism of the domains, pushing them to a different location along a nanowire.

Recently published in Physical Review Letters, the new research holds up a magnifying glass to how tiny magnetic devices behave. Using a special electron microscope that can 'see' magnetism, scientists imaged a wall between two domains that lies in a notch in the side of the wire. This site, called a pinning centre, is where information starts and stops on its journey along the wire.

The researchers were then able to measure the current that was needed to blow the wall out of differently shaped notches.

The aim is to be able to reduce the current, and hence power, needed to move the information along the wire.

"The reason why the hard disk on your computer is likely to break is because it has moving parts which eventually wear out, but the racetrack method of storing information is much more reliable as all the parts are static," says Dr Chris Marrows, reader in condensed matter physics at the University of Leeds.

Compared with flash memory - the kind of solid state memory you find in flash drives and iPods - racetrack memory's huge advantage is on price. It is estimated that a racetrack memory in a computer would be 100 times cheaper per bit than flash.

"Magnetic racetrack memory is designed to replace the hard disk, and it's estimated that it could compete on price since it's very dense it can store lots of bits of data on a small area of chip, as the information is stored in vertical towers," says Dr Marrows.

As well as being more reliable than hard disks, racetrack memory is also faster. There are no 'seek' times when the head has to search the disk for information, so computers would be able to boot up almost instantly.

The next stage for the team is to develop better materials from which to make the racetrack components. A fully working race track memory is anticipated to be available within 10 years.


'/>"/>

Contact: Clare Ryan
c.s.ryan@leeds.ac.uk
0044-113-343-8059
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. The Wisconsin Heart Hospital Announces Live Webcast Demonstrating Breakthrough Device to Facilitate Beating Heart and Robotic Coronary Revascularization Surgery
2. Bluestar Silicones Presents Adhesive Gels for Wound Care at Medical Grade Polymers Conference
3. Bluestar Silicones Debuts New Soft Elastomers at Medical Device & Manufacturing East Expo
4. Bluestar Silicones Introduces Three New Soft and Durable Liquid Silicone Rubber Products
5. When it Comes to Going Green, These N.C. Scientists are Singing the Blues
6. Carl Marks Seeds New Healthcare Fund Through Strategic Partnership With BlueStar Capital Management
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/10/2016)... -- The Maryland House of Delegates and House Speaker ... Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece ... System President and CEO Robert Chrencik , MBA, ... given to the public by the leader of the ... and Mr. Chrencik for their contributions to our statewide ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... that it has joined the Human Vaccines Project, a public-private partnership to ... cancer. , The Human Vaccines Project brings together leading pharmaceutical and ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  Matchbook, Inc., ... for fast growing biotech companies, announced today the ... Procurement Strategic Advisor. Jim brings nearly 25 years ... and procurement, having spent nearly two decades in ... Chain/Logistics and Procurement at Genzyme and, most recently ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Latham, NY (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... photodiode packages at the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco’s Moscone ... and 14 in the same venue. , These latest InGaAs PIN diode standard ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:2/3/2016)... 2016 Vigilant Solutions announces today that the ... Missouri solved two recent hit-and-run cases ... from Vigilant Solutions. Brian Wenberg explains, ... victim was walking out of a convenience store and witnessed an elderly male ... vehicle, striking his vehicle and leaving the scene.  In ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 ... of the bioinformatic market by reviewing the recent ... enabled tools that drive the field forward. Includes ... to: Identify the challenges and opportunities that ... providers and software solution developers, as well as ...
(Date:2/2/2016)...   Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) announced today ... Office and the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency ... company,s Snapshot Kinship Inference software for ... defense-related DNA forensics.  Although Snapshot is best known ... ancestry from DNA evidence), it also has the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):