What's Really Happening With Fast-Moving Magnetic Particles

Rather than writing and reading data one piece at one time by altering the orientation of magnetized particles onto a surface, as the current magnetic discs perform, the new approach would use small spikes in magnetic orientation, and which were dubbed "skyrmions." These digital particles, which occur on a thin picture discriminated contrary to a film of steel, manipulated and can be controlled with components, also may save information for long periods with no need for more energy input.

The group also comprised researchers in the Max Born Institute and the Institute of Optics and Atomic Physics, both in Berlin; the Institute for Laser Technologies in Medicine and Metrology in the University of Ulm, in Germany; and also the Deutches Elektroniken-Syncrotron (DESY), in Hamburg. The work has been encouraged by the U.S. Here is more info on sims freeplay (visit the website) visit our web-site. Department of Energy and also the German Science Foundation. Because the skyrmions, basically little eddies of magnetism, are incredibly stable to external perturbations, unlike the individual magnetic poles in a conventional magnetic storage device, data can be stored using only a tiny area of the magnetic surface -- perhaps just a few atoms across.

That means that vastly more data could be written onto a surface of a given size. That's an important quality, Beach explains, because conventional magnetic systems are now reaching limits set by the basic physics of their materials, potentially bringing to a halt the steady improvement of storage capacities that are the basis for Moore's Law. The new system, once perfected, could provide a way to continue that progress toward ever-denser data storage, he says.

A staff headed by MIT affiliate professor of materials engineering and science Geoffrey Beach recorded the existence of skyrmions, although the particles' locations on a surface were entirely random. An efficient system for reading that data will also be needed to create a commercializable system. The key to being able to create skyrmions at will in particular locations, it turns out, lay in material defects.

By introducing a particular kind of defect in the magnetic layer, the skyrmions become pinned to specific locations on the surface, the team found. Those surfaces with intentional defects can then be used as a controllable writing surface for data encoded in the skyrmions. The team realized that instead of being a problem, the defects in the material could actually be beneficial. This boundary region can move back and forth within the magnetic material, Beach says.

What he and his team found four years ago was that these boundary regions could be controlled by placing a second sheet of nonmagnetic heavy metal very close to the magnetic layer. The nonmagnetic layer can then influence the magnetic one, with electric fields in the nonmagnetic layer pushing around the magnetic domains in the magnetic layer. Skyrmions are little swirls of magnetic orientation within these layers, Beach adds.