Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electronics: Magnetic memories on the right track

Date:
August 27, 2014
Source:
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Summary:
An investigation into switching characteristics provides new criteria for achieving faster switching of magnetic memories.

Pathways for the switching of a magnetic layer in an STT-MRAM device depend on the relative alignment of the two layers in the device.
Credit: Copyright 2014 A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing

An investigation into switching characteristics provides new criteria for achieving faster switching of magnetic memories.

Computer hard drives store data by writing magnetic information onto their surfaces. In the future, magnetic effects may also be used to improve active memory in computers, potentially eliminating the need to 'boot up' a computer. One way to achieve this is through a memory technology known as STT-MRAM that utilizes information stored in a pair of thin magnetic layers.

By performing calculations, Chee Kwan Gan and colleagues from the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing have proposed ways to improve STT-MRAM memory through identifying design options for achieving faster switching speeds, and hence faster data write times.

In STT-MRAM devices, the relative orientation of the magnetic fields in the two thin layers determines the electrical resistance experienced by a current flowing through the device. If the magnetizations of both layers are aligned in the same direction, then the electrical resistance will be lower than when the layers have different magnetic alignments.

Switching the device between different magnetic states -- which corresponds to writing information into the memory -- is achieved by electrons whose magnetic property, the spin, is aligned in one direction. Collectively, these electrons are able to change the direction of the magnetization in one of the layers. The time it takes to switch the magnetic direction depends on several factors, including the initial relative orientation of the magnetic fields in the two layers. The magnetization of the switched layer can follow various complex paths during the switching process.

In previous experiments, the switching process was found to depend on two parameters. Using their computational model, the researchers could focus on one parameter -- the less-studied 'field-like' term -- that accounts for the relative orientation of the magnetic fields in both layers. The strength of this term depends on various factors, such as the device geometry and the materials used.

The calculations by the researchers show that, for devices with a strong field-like term, there is greater potential to reduce switching times than for devices in which the field-like term is negligible. Gan explains that this discovery will assist the development of improved STT-MRAM devices. "Our findings will motivate experimentalists to fabricate devices with strong field-like terms," says Gan.

Furthermore, a better understanding of the origin of the field-like term is needed, adds Gan. "Although the effect of the field-like term has been confirmed experimentally and investigated in this work through simulations, it is important to understand its physical origins in order to improve material design."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. K. Tiwari, M. H. Jhon, N. Ng, D. J. Srolovitz, C. K. Gan. Current-induced switching of magnetic tunnel junctions: Effects of field-like spin-transfer torque, pinned-layer magnetization orientation, and temperature. Applied Physics Letters, 2014; 104 (2): 022413 DOI: 10.1063/1.4862182

Cite This Page:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Electronics: Magnetic memories on the right track." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827213732.htm>.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). (2014, August 27). Electronics: Magnetic memories on the right track. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827213732.htm
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Electronics: Magnetic memories on the right track." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140827213732.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

Apple Enters Mobile Payment Business

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Apple is making a strategic bet with the launch of Apple Pay, the mobile pay service aimed at turning your iPhone into your wallet. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins