Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Rare material key to computer advances

Rare material key to computer advances

Researchers from Victoria University of Wellington have answered fundamental questions about a rare class of materials that could lead to faster, more reliable memory storage in computers.


Dr Ben Ruck, Professor Joe Trodahl and Dr Franck Natali from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, have spent several years understanding the properties of rare-earth nitrides (RENs), thin films grown under ultra-high vacuum which are both magnetic and semiconducting.

The team is one of only a few worldwide exploring commercial applications of RENs, with two concepts already patented. They include developing the first magnetic memory storage devices based on RENs, called magnetic tunnel junctions.

A computer has two types of memory, a hard disk drive coated with magnetic material, and random-access memory (RAM) that stores data electrically, explains Dr Ruck. The issue with RAM is that it does not retain information when the host computer turns off.

“What we’re working on is a magnetic type of RAM that doesn’t disappear. Because data is retained when the power is switched off, a device can perform faster, be more versatile and use less energy. This is ideal, as an example, for cloud data storage spanning across multiple servers,” says Dr Ruck.

In collaboration with a team of researchers in France, based at the Centre for Research on Hetero-Epitaxy and Applications, which has facilities to grow pure versions of RENs, Dr Ruck and his colleagues are also in the process of testing a new way to control how RENs use electricity.

“No one has made a magnetic semi-conductor where you can truly control the electrical conductivity. Our results provide a new way to control conduction precisely, meaning you can swap a device from being magnetic to non-magnetic, surpassing existing electronics regarding speed and power consumption.”

This is a significant breakthrough for developing and constructing spintronics devices, an emerging technology where the spin of an electron is controlled to manipulate its charge.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Season Ends: Is Whitebaiting Sustainable?

The whitebait fry - considered a delicacy by many - are the juveniles of five species of galaxiid, four of which are considered threatened or declining. The SMC asked freshwater experts for their views on the sustainability of the whitebait fishery and whether we're doing enough to monitor the five species of galaxiid that make up whitebait. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: Smaller-Than-Expected Four-Month Deficit

The New Zealand government's accounts recorded a smaller-than-forecast deficit in the first four months of the fiscal year on a higher-than-expected inflow of corporate and goods and services tax. More>>

ALSO:

On For Christmas: KiwiRail Ferries Back In Full Operation After Quake

KiwiRail’s Interislander ferries are back in full operation for the first time since the Kaikoura earthquake, with the railspan that allows rail wagons to be loaded on the Aratere now restored. More>>

ALSO:

Comerce Commission Investigation: Prosecutions Over Steel Mesh Labelling

Steel & Tube Holdings, along with two other companies, will be prosecuted by the Commerce Commission following the regulator's investigation into seismic steel mesh, while Fletcher Building's steel division has been given a warning. More>>

ALSO:

Wine: 20% Of Marlborough Storage Tanks Damaged By Quake

An estimated 20 percent of wine storage tanks in the Marlborough region, the country’s largest wine producing area, have been damaged by the impact of the recent Kaikoura earthquake. More>>

ALSO:

ACC: Levy Recommendations For 2017 – 2019 Period

• For car owners, a 13% reduction in the average Motor Vehicle levy • For businesses, a 10% reduction in the average Work levy, and changes to workplace safety incentive products • For employees, due to an increase in claims volumes and costs, a 3% increase in the Earners’ levy. More>>

Women's Affairs: Government Accepts Recommendations On Pay Equity

The Government will update the Equal Pay Act and amend the Employment Relations Act to implement recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news