Racetrack memory
Introduction
A future storage technology from IBM that moves magnetically-stored data electronically. It offers 100 times the storage in the same space available on current hard disk drives and solid-state drives (SSDs) could be commercially available within a decade, Racetrack memory will not only play a large role in the consumer world, but also in the professional world. Some of the larger computing problems in existence right now are due not to computation, but to the lack of an efficient information system. Magnetic domain wall manipulation has advanced tremendously recently, but this technology surrounding racetrack memory still has several obstacles to overcome before it can become a reality.

It is comprised of millions of U-shaped wires perpendicularly placed on a silicon substrate with the read/write heads located at the bottom of the U.The wires are less than one micron in diameter. Approximately 100 bits of data are magnetically written onto each wire and are moved up and down the wire by applying a positive or negative pulse at one end.This allows for an almost infinite number of combinations of ones and zeroes, determined by how the position of the electron spin is interpreted, vastly increasing the amount of data that can be stored with respect to the area the data are being stored on.The bits move at more than 300 feet per second, which is considerably faster than the spinning platters of modern-day hard disks.Not only is it more efficient in regard to data per size constraints, but it also gains efficiency in that it uses less energy.

Magnetic domain technology is based on a discovery made in the 1930’s by Nevill Mott at the University of Cambridge. When a magnetic material is injected with electric current, all of the electrons in that region orient their spin parallel to the magnetism of that domain . For instance, if a wire was divided into 10 equal parts with alternating magnetic domains and had a pulse of electric current sent through it, the electrons would orient their spin parallel to that of the magnetic domains of each section, which would be alternating. This becomes very useful, because it is then possible to change the magnetic domain of each of the individual sections of wire.

An obstacle researchers had to overcome was being able to “write” and “rewrite” the magnetic domain of a section of wire. This was made possible through the development of a ferromagnetic nanowire oriented at a right angle to the storage nanowire, which ultimately fringes the magnetic domain walls.

In this current solid-state memory, while more reliable than mechanical hard disks, is only available for relatively comparative prices at the very low-end, where it costs "maybe a factor of two to replace a hard disk with Flash memory."

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