Researchers unveil new aspect of Racetrack memory

1 min read

IBM researchers have announced a previously unknown aspect of key physics inside Racetrack memory. Racetrack memory uses a spin coherent electric current to move magnetic domains along a nanoscale wire and is said to enable devices to store up to 100 times more information than currently possible.

Racetrack memory stores data as magnetic regions – also called domains – in racetracks just a few tens of nanometers wide. The new discovery, revealed in the journal Science, allows the precise control of the placement of these domains, which the IBM team has proven can act as nano-sized data keepers that can store more memory and be accessed at much greater speeds. By controlling electrical pulses in the device, the scientists can move these domain walls at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour and then stop them precisely at the position needed. According to the researchers, this allows massive amounts of stored information to be accessed in less than a billionth of a second. Dr Stuart Parkin, IBM Fellow at IBM Research, Almaden, said: "We discovered that domain walls don't hit peak acceleration as soon as the current is turned on, and that it takes them exactly the same time and distance to hit peak acceleration as it does to decelerate and eventually come to a stop. "This was previously undiscovered in part because it was not clear whether the domain walls actually had mass, and how the effects of acceleration and deceleration could exactly compensate one another. Now we know domain walls can be positioned precisely along the racetracks simply by varying the length of the current pulses even though the walls have mass".