Researchers develop new type of holographic memory

A team of researchers made up of Americans and Russians has developed a prototype of holographic storage that could lead to smaller, higher-capacity storage media. The invention works on the basis of spin waves in magnetic material.

The researchers combine the advantages of magnetic storage with those of wave-based data transfer in their technology. The team, consisting of scientists from the Riverside University of California and the Russian Academy of Science, speaks of a magnonic memory module. Magnonics is the science that studies the combination of waves and magnetism, and more precisely the behavior of spin waves in magnetic material. Spinwaves, in turn, are collective oscillations of angular momentum in magnetic material.

The scientists developed a prototype of a 2-bit magnonic memory module. Two magnets form the memory elements and they were placed on different positions of magnetic waveguides. The magnetic fields of the magnets influence the spin waves that are guided by the waveguides. Based on the distortion of the spin waves, the scientists were able to map out the magnetic state of the magnets in detail, which forms the basis for the storage possibility. The use of a wave-based interference pattern is the reason why the term holography applies to the invention.

One of the researchers has been working on the technology for nine years, writes the Riverside University of California. He originally focused on creating spinwave electronics that should be able to replace current storage hardware, but last year he decided to change course. With the project he now focuses on supplementing current computer technology, where the module can assist with, among other things, image and speech recognition. This would have accelerated the work. The scientists describe their work in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

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