IBM Makes Revolutionary Racetrack Memory Using Existing Tools - Technology Review
Racetrack memory could someday supersede flash in terms of density and cost.
IBM has shown that a revolutionary new type of computer memory—one that combines the large capacity of traditional hard disks with the speed and robustness of flash memory—can be made with standard chip-making tools.
The work is important because the cost and complexity of manufacturing fundamentally new computer components can often derail their development.
IBM researchers first described their vision for"racetrack" computer memory in 2008. Today, at the International Electronic Devices Meeting in Washington, D.C., they unveiled the first prototype that combines on one chip all the components racetrack memory needs to read, store, and write data. The chip was fabricated using standard semiconductor manufacturing tools.
Racetrack memory stores data on nanoscale metal wires. Bits of information—digital 1s and 0s—are represented by magnetic stripes in those nanowires, which are created by controlling the magnetic orientation of different parts of the wire.