Spintronic revolution in data storage

(Nanowerk News) A first generation of spintronic devices based on spin-transfer torque-magnetic tunnel junctions (STT-MTJs) has been developed and commercialized. These devices have replaced existing semiconductor-based working memories due to their excellent capabilities in terms of operation speed and read/write endurance.
Also, they open a pathway to next-generation spintronics based information processing with unprecedented computing capabilities.
The multi-billion-dollar magnetic hard disk drive (HDD) industry has been struggling to scale down the size of the drive due to the size of the writing components. A functional nanoprobe using STT based on out-of-plane magnetized MTJs has the potential to overcome this stumbling block.
To replace the traditional write mechanism based on magnetic fields generated by an electromagnet, it uses the quantum-mechanical effect of spin-transfer torque to write information through a spin-polarized electric current.
To solve the technological bottleneck, an internationally collaborative research team including researchers at the University of Miami and the University of California-Berkeley, at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, has for the first time demonstrated this pioneering concept.
The new technology, published in the journal Applied Physics Letters ("Demonstration of spin transfer torque (STT) magnetic recording"), is a major step towards replacing the current HDD head with a device based on spintronic physics.
“Ultimately we will develop a new field of 'probe' based electronics – probtronics – to solve the scaling issues and this opens a stepping stone to produce a real STT-HDD device,” adds Professor Jeongmin Hong from the School of Optical and Electronic Information, Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
Source: Huazhong University of Science and Technology
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