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Fast-Moving Magnetic Particles Could Enable New Form of Data Storage

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Artist's conception of skyrmions.

New research has shown that an exotic kind of magnetic behavior discovered just a few years ago holds great promise as a way of storing data.

Credit: Moritz Eisebitt

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown they can create tiny disturbances in magnetic orientation, or skyrmions, at will in specific locations, which they say could be used to make a new, more efficient data storage system.

The system focuses on the boundary region between atoms whose magnetic poles are pointing in one direction and those with poles pointing in the other, and this region can move back and forth within the magnetic material.

The researchers found the key to creating skyrmions in specific locations is in material defects. They say by introducing a specific kind of defect in the magnetic layer, the skyrmions become pinned to specific locations on the surface. Those surfaces with intentional defects then can be used as a controllable writing surface for data encoded in the skyrmions.

The system also could encode data at high speeds, making it a possible substitute for faster memory systems used in random-access memory for computation.

From MIT News
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