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IBM announces solid-state memory breakthrough

Dec 28, 2010, 21:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Angel)

"IBM announced what appears to be a breakthrough in its development of "racetrack" memory, which stores data by manipulating the magnetic state of regions -- magnetic domain walls -- within nanowires. The "radically new" storage technology could result in storage devices with the speed and reliability of flash memory, along with the low cost and storage capacity of magnetic disk drives, the company says.

"According to IBM, the racetrack memory project started in its Almaden Research Labs in San Jose only six years ago. Instead of making computers seek out the data they need, as is the case in traditional storage systems, it use "spin momentum" to slide data back and forth along nanowire "racetracks" -- 1,000 times finer than a human hair -- the company says.

"In a paper published last week in the journal Science, IBM researchers say they have been able to measure the time and distance of domain wall acceleration in response to electric current pulses for the first time. As a result, the company says, it will be possible to move domain walls at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour and then stop them precisely at the position needed -- allowing massive amounts of stored information to be accessed in less than a billionth of a second."

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