The Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science Researcher, Jeff Bokor, along with his team members at UC Berkeley and UC Riverside, have developed a new, ultrafast method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals, a breakthrough that could lead to greatly increased performance and more energy-efficient computer memory and processing technologies.
Reading and writing data to RAM needs to be extremely fast in order to keep up with the CPU’s calculations. Most current RAM technologies are based on charge (electron) retention, and can be written at rates of billions of bits per second (or bits/nanosecond). The downside of these charge-based technologies is that they are volatile, requiring constant power or else they will lose the data.
“The development of a non-volatile memory that is as fast as charge-based random-access memories could dramatically improve performance and energy efficiency of computing devices,” says Bokor. “That motivated us to look for new ways to control magnetism in materials at much higher speeds than in today’s MRAM.”