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Magnetic memory boffins unveil six-state storage design

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William Franklin
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Better-than-binary multi-level memory

Memory could be getting an upgrade beyond the two states used in binary, as researchers have designed a magnetic element with six stable magnetic states, according to a paper published in Applied Physics Letters.

They consume less power, allow memory to be written and read at a quicker pace, and last longer.

"Furthermore, since MRAM is different in its nature from flash, there is no reason that it should suffer from the drawbacks of multi-level-cell flash memory."

This technique, known as spin-orbit torque switching, shows that more memory can be packed over a tighter space.

Researchers believe that even more magnetic states can be created by adding more layers of magnetic film – crossing four ellipses could give eight magnetic states.

The researchers said they would like to "progress towards fabricating a prototype" that would help them "convince the magnetic memory industry to make a shift towards multi-level magnetic memory."

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