The research laboratories at Almaden Research Laboratory are presenting the new development in the field of memories - fast and inexpensive manufacturing memories that will replace hard drives and SSDs in the future.
IBM announced that it is developing a new type of memory that will be faster and cheaper than existing storage solutions. The new memory is known as Racetrack Memory (RM) and will replace the storage devices known to us as hard drives and SSDs. The new memory device will combine features of hard disks and flash devices.
A scientific breakthrough
The computer memories we know today come in two main forms, different kinds of RAM and hard magnetic disks, and both rely on the ordering of information in a two-dimensional array. The new method adds a new feature to memory by extending the physical storage of bits to the third dimension.
As in many other cases, the theory underlying the method has been known since the seventies of the last century. The idea aroused considerable interest over the years, and a number of studies have been conducted on this subject, but due to technological limitations and difficulties that have not been overcome in the past, the idea has not reached a practical stage. Now, following IBM's research, the theory has become practical and the official document describing the study contains explanations on how to manufacture the Racetrack.
How does it work?
Over the past few years, a research team at IBM has been working on developing the new data storage method. The method relies on U-shaped wires called nanowires and built vertically onto the chip surface. These wires act as shift registers, when bits of information can be written or called from the base of the wire. Once the probe is in the wire, it can move in both directions using short electric pulses provided to the ends of the wire, thus determining the location of the bits within the wire. The memory is called Racetrack due to the movement of magnetic bits along the route.
Within the nanowire wires, the basic data storage unit, the information is stored in magnetic domain walls (DW). A large number of such U wires can be built into a single chip, and create high memory density per one-space unit, much of all the technologies implemented today. The idea is based on a physical phenomenon called spin-momentum transfer, in which the electrical current moves all the bits along the wire, placing a different DW at the same time as the machine reads and writes to the base of the wire, which is carried out at high speed without moving parts and without wear.
Demonstration of U string during read / write operation
(Click to watch animation)
The device manufactured in IBM labs contains a single nanowire wire produced on a substrate (a two-stage device at this initial stage), with a read / write device at its center, and a pulse generator that drives the bits along the wire. The wire is made of iron and nickel alloy, and its diameter is 200 nanometer. This structure functions as a DW domain sliding register, and researchers have been able to write a series of bits into the string and read the information back in. The time it takes to encode and move one bit is about 30 nanoseconds, The average RM memory device will be between 10 and 50 nanoseconds, compared to 5 milliseconds on today's hard disks and around the 10 nanoseconds for devices SSD
The researchers conclude that the device in their hands proves the feasibility of memory storage using sliding registers and foreshadows the possibility of creating such memory devices in the future. There is still much work to be done before such 3D devices can be produced. Within a few years, however, such devices will be able to produce terabytes of volumes, and will eventually replace the devices we know today.
A media player using this technology can store songs or 500,000 in the 3,500 environment Movies
So that one battery charge can last for weeks, and the information on the device will be safe and will not fade for decades.