Magnetic chips push storage density envelope

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Magnetic chips push storage density envelope

A little-known semiconductor technology is promising major advances in data storage.

Experiments in magnetoelectronics are making it feasible to create magnetic drives that store up to 20GB, using magnetic spin valves based on the GMR effect, discovered only 11 years ago.

But GMR represents only one use of magnetoelectronic principles. Other types of devices are now in development that could have a similar impact on non-volatile memory chips.

At the upcoming International Electron Devices Meeting this December in Washington, D.C., a team of Belgian researchers will describe their work in building exotic magnetoelectronic devices.

The researchers are investigating gallium arsenide-based “diluted magnetic semiconductor” materials that produce effects such as hot-electron spin and spin injection across an interface. The latter property is leading to transistors with magnetically activated gates, which could be manipulated by voltage, current, and light to produce novel magnetoelectronic systems.

A detailed report is available at