New Spintronics-Based Concept Could Improve Magnetic Data Storage, Processing

A simple technique developed by physicists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Lanzhou University in China could prove helpful to considerably enhance magnetic-based data processing.

Ultrashort electric pulses in the terahertz range can be used to read, write, and erase data very quickly. This would render data processing highly compact, more rapid, and energy-efficient.

The team validated the working of the theory they proposed by performing complex simulations. The study results have been reported in the NPG Asia Materials journal.

Magnetic data storage is crucial for the secure storage of huge amounts of data produced every day, for example, through social networks. Once it is stored, it is still feasible to retrieve the information even after several years.

However, charge-based storage of data employed, for instance, in mobile phones is relatively more short-lived when the power supply is shut off.

Conventional magnetic hard drives and components have their own demerits. The need for magnetic fields and their moving mechanical parts make them more power-consuming and comparatively slow when they read or write data.

We were after a fast and energy-efficient alternative,” noted Professor Jamal Berakdar from the Institute of Physics at MLU. He worked along with his collaborators from Lanzhou University to propose a simple concept.

Ultrashort pulses in the terahertz range could be used to write information in magnetic nano-vortices and retrieved within a few picoseconds. In theory, this makes billions of read-and-write operations feasible within a second and without requiring any magnetic field.

With the appropriately shaped pulses the data can be processed very quickly at low energy cost. It exploits advances in electric pulse generation and nanomagnetism.

Jamal Berakdar, Professor, Institute of Physics, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

The basis for the new concept proposed by the team is existing terahertz and magnetism technologies. Until now, the technique has been investigated using computer simulations.

In recent years there have been fantastic advances in generating and controlling electrical pulses.

Jamal Berakdar, Professor, Institute of Physics, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Thus, it would be logical to look for novel techniques to apply these pulses for the storage of data. The concept proposed by the researchers provides a basic tool to gain control over magnetic nano-vortices. Thus, the concept can be directly applied to new storage technologies.

Journal Reference

Yu, D., et al. (2020) Nondestructive ultrafast steering of a magnetic vortex by terahertz pulses. NPG Asia Materials.

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