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January 12th, 2006
Imagine a computer that doesn't lose data even in a sudden power outage, or a coin-sized hard drive that could store 100 or more movies. Magnetic random-access memory, or MRAM, could make these possible, and would also offer numerous other advantages. It would, for instance, operate at much faster than the speed of ordinary memory but consume 99 percent less energy.
A team of researchers at The Johns Hopkins University, writing in the Jan. 13 issue of Physical Review Letters, has come up with one possible answer: tiny asymmetrical cobalt or nickel rings that can serve as memory cells. These "nanorings" can store a great quantity of information. They also are immune to the problem of "stray" magnetic fields, which are fields that "leak" from other kinds of magnets and can thus interfere with magnets next to them.
Johns Hopkins University
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