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samedi 21 juillet 2012

Researchers Create Memory With One Bit Per Molecule

The Engineer (United Kingdom) (07/19/12) Andrew Czyzewski

Magnetic memory with one bit per molecule represents a major advance for nanoscale computing.  With current hard disks, one bit of digital information consists of about 3 million magnetic molecules.  Researchers from Germany and Japan have developed a device that consists of a single magnetic iron atom, which can be switched with an electric pulse, in the center of an organic shell that protects the information stored within.  "Not only does the resistance change but also the magnetic state, so it is, if you like, a combination of memristor features and spintronic features, and that's basically the new thing," says Karlsruhe Institute of Technology professor Wulf Wulfhekel.  In memristor devices, resistance changes according to how much current has passed through it and information is retained even after the power is off.  They require only 1/1000 of the energy and are approximately 100 times faster than standard flash memory chips.  The potential applications of the magnetic aspect of the device also are of interest because the field of spintronics uses the magnetic spin of individual atoms for information processing, which is essentially computational power.  The method also could impact the manufacturing techniques for the smallest-scale computing devices, which are reaching a limit.