Faster data processing with ultra-short electrical pulses
Physicists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Lanzhou University in China have developed a simple concept that could dramatically improve magnetic data processing. By using ultra-short electrical pulses in the terahertz range, data can be written, read and erased very quickly. This would make data processing faster, more compact and energy efficient. The researchers confirmed their theory by running complex simulations and the results were published in the journal Materials NPG Asia.
Magnetic data storage is indispensable for securely storing the enormous amount of data generated every day, for example via social networks. Once stored, the information can still be retrieved after many years. Load-based data storage used for example in mobile phones has a much shorter lifetime when there is no power supply. Traditional hard drives and magnetic components have their own drawbacks, due to moving mechanical parts and the need for magnetic fields, which make them more power-hungry and relatively slow when reading and writing data.
“We were looking for a fast and energy-efficient alternative,” says Professor Jamal Berakdar of MLU’s Institute of Physics. He and his colleagues at Lanzhou University had a simple idea. Using ultrashort pulses in the terahertz range, information could be written into magnetic nano-vortexes and retrieved within picoseconds. Theoretically, this makes billions of read and write operations per second possible without the need for magnetic fields. “With the appropriately shaped pulses, data can be processed very quickly at low energy cost,” says Berakdar. The new concept is based on existing terahertz and magnetism technologies. “It exploits advances in electrical pulse generation and nanomagnetism.”
So far, the method has been tested in computer simulations. “In recent years, there have been fantastic advances in the generation and control of electrical impulses,” says Berakdar. Therefore, it makes sense to explore new ways to apply these pulses to data storage. The concept presented by the researchers offers a simple tool for controlling magnetic nano-vortices and can therefore be directly used for new storage technologies.