New invention that could change design of future memory storage devices

October 8, 2008

A research team at Singapore A*STAR's Data Storage Institute (DSI) has invented a new phase change material that has the potential to change the design of future memory storage devices.

Phase change materials are substances that are capable of changing their structure between amorphous and crystalline at high speed. Currently, these materials are used to make Phase change memory (PCM), the most promising alternative to replace FLASH memory.

This research advance was given special mention in Nature's Asia Materials journal. In the August issue of Nature Photonics journal, another DSI research achievement -- the creation of a needle of longitudinally polarized light in vacuum using binary optics – is featured.

Conventionally, PCM is worked by changing phase change materials' structure through applying an electric current. Now, phase change might be effected by means of switching the new phase change materials by using magnetic fields.

The DSI research team led by Shi Luping, Ph.D., created this first phase change magnetic material by introducing iron atoms into Germanium-Antimony-Tellurium alloys (or GeSbTe) containing non-magnetic elements.

"The addition of magnetic properties to phase change materials opens doors to possible new applications, such as the possibility of integrating phase change memory into spintronic technology [also known as magnetoelectronics], and positions it as the next generation of storage technology to look out for," said Chong Tow Chong, Ph.D., DSI Executive Director.

Research is underway to develop materials that could be switched by application of magnetic fields. Said Dr. Shi, "As a next step, we will explore phase change spintronics and its applications. Because of the new degree of freedom of spin we introduced, the possible applications include novel devices with multiple functions, such as memories, sensors and logic devices."

Source: Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

Explore further: Science on the surface of a comet

Related Stories

Science on the surface of a comet

July 31, 2015

Complex molecules that could be key building blocks of life, the daily rise and fall of temperature, and an assessment of the surface properties and internal structure of the comet are just some of the highlights of the first ...

Graphene supercurrents go ballistic

July 29, 2015

Researchers with Europe's Graphene Flagship have demonstrated superconducting electric currents in the two-dimensional material graphene that bounce between sheet edges without scattering. This first direct observation of ...

Cold crystallization has a dual nature

July 22, 2015

In some vitrous substances, when heated, not one, but two physical mechanisms are reponsible for crystallization, as scientists working at the Insitiute of Nuclear Physics in Krakow, Poland, have discovered. The first-time ...

Recommended for you

Robotic insect mimics nature's extreme moves

July 30, 2015

The concept of walking on water might sound supernatural, but in fact it is a quite natural phenomenon. Many small living creatures leverage water's surface tension to maneuver themselves around. One of the most complex maneuvers, ...

The sound of music, according to physicists

July 30, 2015

Joshua Bodon is sick of hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." More specifically, he's sick of hearing one 25-second clip of the song repeated more than 550 times.

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

20nmon
1 / 5 (1) Oct 08, 2008
Is the current better used by heating or generating the magnetic field? The magnetic field usually requires an adjacent wire that takes up extra space.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.