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

 

Gordon Campbell: On Tiwai Point (And Saying “No” In Greece)

Its hard to see how Rio Tinto’s one month delay in announcing its intentions about the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is a good sign for (a) the jobs of the workers affected or (b) for the New Zealand taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:


Half Empty: Dairy Product Prices Extend Slide To Six-Year Low

Dairy product prices continued their slide, paced by whole milk power, in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, weakening to the lowest level in six years. More>>

ALSO:

Copper Broadband: Regulator Set To Keep Chorus Pricing Largely Unchanged

The Commerce Commission looks likely to settle on a price close to its original decision on what telecommunications network operator Chorus can charge its customers, though it probably won’t backdate any update. More>>

ALSO:

Lower Levy For Safer Cars: ACC Backtracks On Safety Assessments

Dog and Lemon: “The ACC has based the entire levy system on a set of badly flawed data from Monash University. This Monash data is riddled with errors and false assumptions; that’s the real reason for the multiple mistakes in setting ACC levies.” More>>

ALSO:

Fast Track: TPP Negotiations Set To Accelerate, Groser Says

Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership will accelerate in July, with New Zealand officials working to stitch up a deal by the month's end, according to Trade Minister Tim Groser. More>>

ALSO:

Floods: Initial Assessment Of Economic Impact

Authorities around the region have compiled an initial impact assessment for the Ministry of Civil Defence, putting the estimated cost of flood recovery at around $120 million... this early estimate includes social, built, and economic costs to business, but doesn’t include costs to the rural sector. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news