Electricity loosens tiny bits

July 30/August 6, 2003

The key to cramming more data onto a disk or magnetic memory chip is decreasing the size of the magnetic bits that represent the 1s and 0s of computer information. This is becoming increasingly difficult, however, because as a bit gets smaller it has to be made stronger to remain stable, and as a consequence it takes more magnetic force to reverse, or flip, its magnetic poles between the states that represent a 1 and a 0.

Researchers from Tohoku University in Japan have found a way to make flipping small bits easier. The researchers' electrically-assisted magnetization reversal process weakens the magnetization of a ferromagnetic semiconductor's magnetization by applying a pinpoint electric field, making the magnetization of individual bits easier to flip.

In general, adding energy to a bit makes it easier to flip. This the reason cassette tapes sound wobbly after too much time in a hot car -- some of the information gets lost when bits randomly flip due to thermal energy.

After demonstrating the principle of the process, the researchers are working to make it practical by increasing the transition temperature of the ferromagnetic semiconductor material, which is currently considerably below room temperature.

The method could be used practically in five to ten years, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the July 10, 2003 issue of Science.

Page One

VR accommodates reality

Fractals support growing organs

Eyes off, screen off

Chip senses trace DNA

News briefs:
Laser bursts pierce fog
Electricity loosens tiny bits
Nano light stores data in polymer
See-through magnets hang tough
Munching microbes feed fuel cell
Crystal cracks nurture nanowires

Research Watch blog

View from the High Ground Q&A
How It Works

RSS Feeds:
News  | Blog

Ad links:
Buy an ad link


Ad links: Clear History

Buy an ad link

Home     Archive     Resources    Feeds     Glossary
TRN Finder     Research Dir.    Events Dir.      Researchers     Bookshelf
   Contribute      Under Development     T-shirts etc.     Classifieds

© Copyright Technology Research News, LLC 2000-2010. All rights reserved.