New computer memory can hold data 20 years without power

Dec. 30, 2013 at 5:02 PM   |   0 comments

SINGAPORE, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Researchers in Singapore say they've developed new computer memory that can store more data and keep it intact 20 times longer than current magnetic memory.

Engineers at the National University of Singapore say the new form of Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory technology will drastically increase storage space and ensure that fresh data stays intact, even in the case of a power failure, for as long as 20 years.

"Storage space will increase, and memory will be so enhanced that there is no need to regularly hit the 'save' button as fresh data will stay intact even in the case of a power failure," Yang Hynsoo of the university's Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering said. "Devices and equipment can now have bigger memory with no loss for at least 20 years or probably more. Currently pursued schemes with a very thin magnetic layer can only retain information for about a year."

Current MRAM technology uses ultra-thin ferromagnetic structures that are difficult to implement due to their thickness of less than 1 nanometer, leading to low manufacturing reliability and data loss over time.

The researchers were able to resolve this problem by incorporating magnetic multilayer structures as thick as 20 nanometers, providing an alternative film structure for transmission of electronic data and storage, the university reported Monday.

Another benefit of the new technology, in addition to high storage capacity, is much lower power consumption, the researchers said.

"With the heavy reliance on our mobile phones these days, we usually need to charge them daily," Yang said. "Using our new technology, we may only need to charge them on a weekly basis."

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