SEOUL, South Korea--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An international research team has discovered the key to unlocking “non-electrical” memory, moving us beyond the realm of ultra-low power memory for the very first time.
Dr. Seonghoon Woo, senior research scientist at the Center for Spintronics at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), conducted joint research with Professor Geoffrey Beach of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), resulting in the discovery of a non-electrical method for realizing memory through the use of propagating disturbances in the ordering of magnetic fields. Such disturbances are known as “spin waves”.
The world's first experimental findings on spin wave-generated memory were published in Nature Physics, the most prestigious scientific journal of its kind, on the 31st of January, 2017 (Korean Calendar). These findings showed that magnetic textures called “domain walls” could be driven non-electrically via spin wave bursts on a nanowire. For many decades, researchers around the world have actively studied domain walls due to their high mobility, stability, and cheap manufacturing cost—all of which make them a suitable power source for next-generation memory applications that could replace current technology such as DRAM and NAND flash. However, no one had found a way to reduce the relatively large electrical current threshold required to set the domain walls into motion. Without a way to reduce power consumption, domain wall-based memory would have no advantage over conventional devices already on the market.
Dr. Woo and Professor Beach took a novel approach to their research by looking beyond the concept of setting the domain walls into motion electrically. Their research demonstrated that forcing two domain walls to collide into each other was a highly effective way of generating strong bursts of spin waves. And by utilizing these waves, the research team could set a nearby domain wall into motion without using any electricity at all. This achievement implies the possibility of a future in which memory is generated non-electrically.
According to Dr. Woo, "The low-power issue has become more important recently thanks to the significant increase in information that smart devices are expected to handle. This new approach using spin waves would contribute greatly to memory-related industry.”