Scientists from Russia, Germany, and the Netherlands have developed a prototype of powerful and energy-efficient data storage devices.
Researchers at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and colleagues from German and Dutch universities have achieved highly efficient material magnetization switching. This new model uses the shortest timescales and minimal energy consumption. Analysts say it is instrumental for the rapid development of information technology that requires ultra-fast data storage devices.
Aside from the prototype’s ultra-fast storage property, researchers say quantum mechanisms will also control this device. These properties make the entire process lose zero to minimal energy.
The operation and maintenance of data centers consume over 3% of the power generated globally. Experts expect the energy use of these facilities to grow further. Hence, the discovery of this technology would be substantial for the development and use of future IT devices.
The collective works of various research teams have led to the creation of a model for future data storage devices. This technology would make devices more compact and can transfer data within picoseconds. Moreover, installing this storage with antennas will make it compatible with on-chip T-ray sources.
A Revolution in Storage Technology
The standard way of storing data is to encode it as binary zeros and ones, corresponding to the changes in the orientations of tiny magnets called spins. Computer hard drives use this method in storing information. While this method is reliable, its operation needs too much time and energy.
In 2016, the researchers came up with a way for ultra-fast spin switching. This method takes place in thulium orthoferrite (a rare element) via T-rays.
Their technique for remagnetizing memory bits turned out to be faster and more efficient than the usual magnetic field pulses. This effect comes from a particular connection between the spin states and T-ray pulse’s electrical component.
Prof. Anatoly Zvezdin credits the discovery to the previous research on rare earth minerals. He is the Magnetic Heterostructures and Spintronics Lab head at MIPT.
The fundamental properties of these rare earth materials were studied half a century ago. This breakthrough is an example of how scientists can translate preliminary research into practical application decades after completion, Prof. Zvezdin said.
Sebastian Baierl from University of Regensburg (Germany) and Alexey Kimel from Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands) contributed to the project. Colleagues from Russian Technological University MIREA and other institutions also joined their effort.