IBM developing”Racetrack” : new age memory chips


IBM is all set to develop an entirely new type of of memory that could one day be faster and more efficient than today’s hard drives and flash memory. Named “racetrack’this solid-state memory aims to combine the best attributes of flash, such as having no moving parts, and the low cost of hard drives for an inexpensive form of non-volatile memory that will be stable and durable. Racetrack memory uses magnetic nanowires to store information . Without the atoms moving, an electrical charge causes data to move swiftly along a U-shaped pipe that allows data to be read and written in less than a nanosecond. A nanosecond is a billionth of a second and commonly used to measure access time to RAM.The memory reads 16 bits of data through one transistor, so it reads and writes information 100,000 times faster than presently used flash memory. In flash memory and hard drives, one transistor can access 1 bit, or with flash, maybe 2 or possibly even 4 bits, but not more than that. Since ‘Racetrack, memory has no moving parts, it is “virtually unbreakable” and also resistant to wearingt, unlike flash drives, which could wear out after 10,000 read-and-write cycles. This is because this memory technology keeps atoms constant, making it more durable than hard drives or flash as there is less wear and tear.

Though the Racetrack memory’s storage capacity is similar to flash’s it might exeed hard-drive capacities. While hard disks rotate to access information, racetrack memory uses an electrical charge to read and write data, so it also uses less electricity .Morever it will be inexpensive to manufacture because fewer transistors will be required and each memory chip will hold thousands of nanowires in a small footprint.

The basic technology behind racetrack memory is spintronics, a technology that manipulates the charge and spin properties of electrons. Using spintronics, hard-drive makers have developed drives that read data from a microscopically small area thus increasing efficieny .taking less storage space as well as consuming less powers.Most importantly this will enable development of large Random Access Memories. Morever ,it will be leading the growth of minuscule devices ,which will make pocket internetcapabilities truly possible.

Ved Prakash ,ITvoir Network