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IBM makes racetrack memory

Uses standard tools

Biggish Blue has managed to make a revolutionary type of computer memory which merges large capacity of traditional hard disks with the speed of flash with standard chip-making gear.

The breakthrough means that the cost of manufacturing what has been dubbed racetrack memory has been slashed and it is now viable. Racetrack memory has been around since 2008 and today they will unveil an example at the  International Electronic Devices Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The prototype combines on one chip all the components racetrack memory needs to read, store, and write data. It stores data on nanoscale metal wires with bits of information represented by magnetic stripes. These are created by controlling the magnetic orientation of different parts of the wire. If you want to write data you inserting a new magnetic stripe into a nanowire by applying current to it.

Stuart Parkin who leads the research appears to have created the first integrated version with everything on one piece of silicon using CMOS. Although Biggish Blue thinks that it should be feasible to make racetrack memory commercially it still needs a bit of work.

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