Ferromagnetics breakthrough could change storage as we know it

Breakthrough could lead to wholesale transformation in magnetic storage

A previously misunderstood magnetic phenomenon has been apparently explained by a paper published on Sunday in Nature Materials and the explanation could lead to wholesale transformation in magnetic storage.

Essentially, according to MIT professor Geoffrey Beach's team, the positive or negative "poles" of a very thin ferromagnet behave in a predictable way when placed next to specific types of materials. What this means is that, due to a complicated asymmetry created when the magnetic media is the middle layer in a sandwich of two others, it's possible to switch a value on the disk from 1 to 0 using about 1/100th the energy as in current systems. (Since power scales with the square of the current, this represents a 10,000-fold improvement in power dissipation.)

[MORE NEW TECH: LG:  Production of flexible display smartphone screens to start in Q4]

"The idea is not to improve hard disks, but to replace them with magnetic solid-state devices. In a hard disk, bits are fixed in position on the surface of the disk, and individual bits are accessed by physically rotating the disk," Professor Beach told Network World. "If the bits are instead stored as a series of magnetic domains arranged along a magnetic nanowire, they can be moved by shifting the domains using an electrical current, without any mechanical motion."

This not only means increased energy efficiency, but increased speed, since the need for mechanical motion has been obviated. And since it's non-volatile memory, it could both replace RAM and do away with the need to perform boot sequences when computers are powered on, he said.

We could see these "magnetic solid-state" devices sooner, rather than later according to Beach, the materials involved are the same as those in present-day HDD technology.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Configuration / maintenancenetwork storagehardware systemsData Center

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Gold

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?