A research team at Singapore A*STAR's Data Storage Institute (DSI) has invented a new phase change material that has the potential to change the design of future memory storage devices.
Phase change materials are substances that are capable of changing their structure between amorphous and crystalline at high speed. Currently, these materials are used to make Phase change memory (PCM), the most promising alternative to replace FLASH memory.
This research advance was given special mention in Nature's Asia Materials journal. In the August issue of Nature Photonics journal, another DSI research achievement -- the creation of a needle of longitudinally polarized light in vacuum using binary optics - is featured.
Conventionally, PCM is worked by changing phase change materials' structure through applying an electric current. Now, phase change might be effected by means of switching the new phase change materials by using magnetic fields.
The DSI research team led by Shi Luping, Ph.D., created this first phase change magnetic material by introducing iron atoms into Germanium-Antimony-Tellurium alloys (or GeSbTe) containing non-magnetic elements.
"The addition of magnetic properties to phase change materials opens doors to possible new applications, such as the possibility of integrating phase change memory into spintronic technology [also known as magnetoelectronics], and positions it as the next generation of storage technology to look out for," said Chong Tow Chong, Ph.D., DSI Executive Director.
Research is underway to develop materials that could be switched by application of magnetic fields. Said Dr. Shi, "As a next step, we will explore phase change spintronics and its applications. Because of the new degree of freedom of spin we introduced, the possible applications include novel devices with multiple functions, such as memories, sensors and logic devices."
Data Storage Institute (DSI):
DSI, a member of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), was established in 1992 as the Magnetics Technology Centre, it was renamed Data Storage Institute in 1996. The research institute's vision is to be a vital node in a global community of knowledge generation and innovation, nurturing research talents and capabilities for world-class R&D in next generation storage technologies. DSI is a member of the non-profit Information Storage Industry Consortium of USA.
For more information, please visit www.dsi.a-star.edu.sg
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR):
A*STAR is Singapore's lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and development in Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, with a particular focus on fields essential to Singapore's manufacturing industry and new growth industries. It oversees 22 research institutes, consortia and centres, and supports extramural research with the universities, hospital research centres and other local and international partners. At the heart of this knowledge intensive work is human capital. Top local and international scientific talent drive knowledge creation at A*STAR research institutes. The agency also sends scholars for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral training in the best universities, a reflection of the high priority A*STAR places on nurturing the next generation of scientific talent.
For more information about A*STAR, please visit www.a-star.edu.sg.
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