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March 11th, 2008
Riddle me this, Batman: what do you get when you cross the density of DRAM with the speed of SRAM and non-volatility of FLASH?
If you don't know, that's OK — the answer is a digital memory storage technology that's still largely in the development stage. It's called "magnetoresistive random access memory," or "MRAM," and those following its evolution say it has the potential to revolutionize electronics as a smaller, faster, more energy efficient and durable way of storing and sending your data, iTunes songs or even digitized Batman reruns — if that's your thing.
This nanotechnology relies on electron spin rather than charge to acquire, store and transmit information. Albert Fert, the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2007, recently predicted that MRAM and its offshoots are good candidates to be the "universal" memory of the future. This kind of Holy Grail talk has helped feed market hunger for MRAM's promise, but there are still plenty of developments, testing and marketing hurdles yet to cross - not to mention the pesky little issue of cost competitiveness.
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