UCLA Engineers Develop New Energy-Efficient Computer Memory

ACM News 19/12/2012

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers say they have significantly improved magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) by using electric voltage instead of a flowing electric current. They say the improved memory system, known as magnetoelectric random access memory (MeRAM), has the potential to be used in future memory chips for almost all electronic applications. MeRAM combines extremely low energy with very high density, high-speed reading and writing times, and nonvolatility in a way that is much faster than MRAM. MeRAM also replaces spin-transfer torque’s electric current with voltage to write data into the memory, which eliminates the need to move large numbers of electrons through wires and instead uses voltage to switch the magnetic bits and write information into the memory. The technique has resulted in computer memory that generates less heat, which the researchers say makes it 10 to 1,000 times more energy-efficient. “This work presents new insights into questions such as how to control the switching direction using voltage pulses, how to ensure that devices will work without needing external magnetic fields, and how to integrate them into high-density memory arrays,” says UCLA’s researcher Pedram Khalili.

More info: UCLA Newsroom (12/14/12) Matthew Chin

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