German researchers have created the fastest magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) yet. Their MRAMis about ten times faster than present MRAM and three times fasten than the very best conventional RAM.
Whereas conventional RAM stores a digital 1 or 0 as the level of charge in the capacitor, MRAM stores it by changing the north-south direction of a tiny magnet's magnetic field. Each variable magnet is positioned next to one with a fixed field. Reading a stored value involves running a current through the pair to discover the direction of the variable magnet's field.
The MRAM that IBM and most other manufacturers are betting on uses the spins of electrons to flip the magnetic fields, called spin-torque MRAM.
Now researchers in Germany have built a spin-torque system that is dramatically faster than any other. Santiago Serrano-Guisan and Hans Schumacher of the Physical-Technical Federal Laboratory of Germany worked with University of Bielefeld and Singulus Nano-Deposition Technologies researchers to build it from tiny pillars 165 nanometres tall.