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Electric Currents Move Racetrack Memory Bits with Precision


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Racetrack memory

Magnetic domain walls [right] race along a curved racetrack [thin line at left] at roughly 500 kilometers per hour.

IBM

What will replace today's hard drives and flash memory devices? The former tend to be slow, the latter unsuited to long-term use. Then there is RAM, many forms of which are volatile—turn off the power, lose your data.

These shortcomings, as well as the same demands that drive most technological innovation—to make it smaller, faster, cheaper, less prone to failure—have produced a number of candidate data-storage technologies in recent years, all of which offer some combination of advantages over the devices in wide use today.

But those advantages come at a price: the new technologies usually involve added complexity or at least underexplored physics. That latter characterization is certainly true of racetrack memory, a proposed scheme in which data bits, encoded as magnetized regions on nanowires, move back and forth along the nanowire "racetrack" and past read/write heads.

From Scientific American
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