New invention that could change design of future memory storage devices

Oct 08, 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: Improving insulation materials, down to wetting crossed fibers

Related Stories

How oversized atoms could help shrink

12 hours ago

"Lab-on-a-chip" devices – which can carry out several laboratory functions on a single, micro-sized chip – are the result of a quiet scientific revolution over the past few years. For example, they enable ...

Actuators that mimic ice plants

Jun 30, 2015

Engineers developing moveable robot components may soon take advantage of a trick plants use. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and Harvard University in Cambridge ...

Building a better semiconductor

Jun 26, 2015

Research led by Michigan State University could someday lead to the development of new and improved semiconductors.

Recommended for you

How oversized atoms could help shrink

13 hours ago

"Lab-on-a-chip" devices – which can carry out several laboratory functions on a single, micro-sized chip – are the result of a quiet scientific revolution over the past few years. For example, they enable ...

Physicists shatter stubborn mystery of how glass forms

Jun 29, 2015

A physicist at the University of Waterloo is among a team of scientists who have described how glasses form at the molecular level and provided a possible solution to a problem that has stumped scientists ...

User comments : 1

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.