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IBM's racetrack memory moves closer to the checkered flag

Robert McMillan | Dec. 23, 2010
IBM researchers are now a step closer to commercializing an experimental technology that could be used load up a mobile phone with so much storage that it could keep copies of every movie made this year.

In a paper published in the Dec. 24 issue of Science Magazine, the IBM researchers report that domain walls have mass and do indeed take a bit of time to speed up to peak velocity, and to slow down. Knowing this, they'll be able to move and retrieve data on a racetrack trip accurately.

There's still a lot of work to be done before racetrack becomes a reality, but according to Parkin, the biggest questions -- whether an electric charge would move these domain walls, and whether or not they have mass -- have now been answered.

Now the problems are more practical and less theoretical: how do you build a racetrack chip that works reliably with millions or even billions of these racetracks, for example. "Those are the questions that we can only address by building prototypes and testing them for a period of time," Parkin said.

 

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