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New memory technology that allows storage of half a million songs on an MP3 player

In two articles in Science, IBM researchers present the basic principles of a technology that has been dubbed "racetrack memory"

The logo of Y. Bam
The logo of Y. Bam

Half a million songs or 3,500 complete movies on an MP3 player - a hundred times the storage capacity available today in the most advanced devices, and all at a lower price and with significantly less zam consumption? Scientists at IBM are approaching the production of memory for computers that combines the high performance and reliability typical of memories in MP3 players, digital cameras, cell phones and iPod devices - and between the low price and high capacity of magnetic disk drives.

In two articles published in the new issue (April 11) of the scientific journal Science, IBM researchers at Alameda Laboratories in San Jose present the basic principles of a technology that has been nicknamed "racetrack memory" - and indicate a significant milestone in the development of this technology. IBM's development may pave the way for storing larger amounts of data in a given volume, enjoy extremely fast boot times, lower production costs and ensure unprecedented reliability and stability.

During the next decade, the memory technology developed at IBM may make it possible to build a new generation of electronic devices without moving parts, which excel in high durability, with extremely low current consumption that will allow continuous weeks of work between charges, and with low heat emission that guarantees a longer life for the various components.

Data storage is currently carried out in one of two ways: flash memory, on chips or cards, integrated in cell phones, music players and digital cameras - or a magnetic disk integrated in various types of computers. The rapid rate of development in these two technological branches does not change the price ratio: the price of storing each bit on a magnetic disk is about the same as the price of storing that bit in volatile memory. Against the advantages of the price of the hard disk are its disadvantages: a slower pace, and a large number of moving parts that create problems with the level of mechanical reliability that do not exist in volatile memory technology. Volatile memory, for its part, is significantly slower in the process of writing data compared to the higher reading speed, and is characterized by a limited lifespan: the number of write-read cycles possible on such a memory chip is finite and limited, and currently stands at only a few thousand: each write to this memory creates a change A tiny bit of the electrical nature of the component - which gradually accumulates until it wears out.

The "racetrack memory" developed by IBM does not store data as a collection of electric charges - but uses the spin phenomenon of electrons. For about fifty years, scientists have been examining the possibility of storing data in areas of "magnetic fences", which separate the tiny areas that make up each magnetic material. Until now, the operation and manipulation of such fences - changing the magnetic character of a defined area - has been incredibly expensive, complicated to perform - and wasteful of electricity. In a new scientific article entitled "Change in registration in a magnetic barrier fence under the control of an electric current", the IBM researchers describe a new way to deal with this problem: using a current whose electron spin is polarized and magnetized. The utilization of the spin simplifies the memory component, because the current is transferred directly across the magnetic region, without the need for additional amplification.

The scientists describe the future storage components as horizontal or longitudinal rows of magnetic material ("race tracks") organized on a silicon wafer. Magnetic partitions will be embedded on the same surface as they partition between defined magnetic areas in order to create columns in different directions. Each magnetic region will have a positive pole (north head) and a negative pole (south tail). The information is recorded by polarizing pairs of magnetic partitions (head to head - tail to tail), with the help of a timed sequence of polarized electrical signals, which are sent to defined points on the chip.

The scientists at IBM were able to demonstrate a system that successfully creates partitions, moves them and reads the status of the partitions, in a cycle time of a few tenths of a millisecond.

The scientists predict that in the future it will be possible to switch to a three-dimensional magnetic structure, which is a revolutionary change in the concept of chip programming known today, and actually involves only two dimensions. Moving to work in three dimensions paves the way for the development of faster and cheaper components - and does not depend on further miniaturization subject to the limitations of Moore's Law.

7 תגובות

  1. Ismail Hamza Ramadan

    More entertainers like us and we descend to the level of YNET and the sites of the Amha

  2. It is indeed implied from the article that Moore's Law is a physical law - which is clearly not true, Moore's Law claims that every 18 months the number of transistors will double, this law results from all kinds of variables such as core size, utilization, etc., mainly Moore's Law is relatively accurate, especially when looking at the long term.

    Each breakthrough has many years to mature enough to replace off-the-shelf products.

  3. Interesting article
    But the explanation of the principle of operation remains clearly unclear..

    And I'm not sure that mentioning Moore's law is in place, from what I know about the subject it is not related to the matter.. It is not a physical law.

  4. May your name be praised as a new master on this Zikron site in a non-volatile death!
    Whatever is right is right! All the best to you! May your name be praised forever!!
    Thank you jam!

    from me
    Ismail Hamza Ramadan

  5. There is a mistake in the article.
    It is written that there are 2 types of memories - flash (volatile) and magnetic media.

    Flash is not volatile.
    Although it is based on the same technology as the volatile RAM, the whole point is non-volatile flash.

    When we remove the memory cards from the cell phone, is the information on it deleted?
    When there is no battery in the flash drive, is the information deleted?
    No. It is not volatile.

  6. Strong:
    Probably.
    For example - in the field of materials - Gallium Arsenide.
    For example - in the field of data processing - relational databases

  7. Every once in a while we hear about a breakthrough from IBM labs. I wonder if any of the readers here got to hear about the realization of one of those hacks..

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