Researchers at UCLA have created a nanoscale magnetic component for computer memory chips that could significantly improve their energy efficiency and scalability.
The design brings a new and highly sought-after type of magnetic memory one step closer to being used in computers, mobile electronics such as smart phones and tablets, as well as large computing systems for big data.
The innovative asymmetric structure allows it to better exploit electrons’ spin and orbital properties, making it much more power efficient than today’s computer memory.
“In conjunction with related types of magnetic devices being studied by our team, it represents a tremendous opportunity to realize higher performance memory and logic for future instant-on and energy-efficient, green electronic systems.”
Spintronics-based computer chips use magnetic materials for increased power efficiency.
The researchers instead created an effective magnetic field by varying the angle of the structure by just a few atoms, in a shape resembling a cheese wedge: thicker on one end and sloping downward to a thinner edge on the other end.
The researchers observed the magnetic-field-free switching effect in several experiments, but the mechanism that allows the asymmetric geometry to improve magnetic switching is still under investigation.