IIT Mandi team has developed Magnetic RAM for high data storage and faster computation
Researchers at IIT Mandi have developed cutting-edge Magnetic Random-Access Memory (MRAM) technology, which has the capability to transform next-generation computers, smartphones and other gadgets leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology.
MRAM is much faster than the current technology and offers unlimited read and write cycles. The expected computer refresh programming time for MRAM based data storage bit is lower than the familiar DRAM (Dynamic Random-Access Memory) bit.
The team from IIT Mandi has designed and developed Spin-transfer torque (STT) based nano spintronic devices, which will put an end to computer data loss due to interruptions of power supply.
In case of MRAM, the information is not stored in the form of conventional electric charges, but via the magnetic alignment of spins. This leads to an increase in energy efficiency and capability to store more information in smaller volume as compared to the existing DRAM and SRAM (Static Random-Access Memory) technologies.
Devices based on spintronic technology utilise the Spin-transfer torque (STT) mechanism to transmit magnetic spins of electrons to process information, unlike normal electronic devices that are driven by electron charges. These developed Nano devices have been fabricated and tested in the world-class, state-of-the-art facility at the Centre for Design & Fabrication of Electronic Devices (C4DFED) at IIT Mandi.
The research by the IIT team has been published in IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, a reputed international journal. The five member team includes Sharma, his colleague Srikant Srinivasan and three research scholars - Mohamad G Moinuddin, Shivangi Shringi and Aijaz H Lone.
"MRAM based AI & IoTs will enable not only diverse electronics, but also impact correlated areas like agriculture, healthcare, education, and skilling, along with transferring economic power of individuals and the country", says Dr. S.K. Sharma, an Associate Professor and co-author of the paper on MRAM discovery.
MRAM operates at lesser power, not requiring large, energy consuming charges to rewrite the chip and is also much faster than counterparts due to the consumption of even lesser power to read. As such, MRAM is a better alternative for those requiring a longer lifetime for data storage and next-generation processing like data center, high-performance computing applications at reduced costs.
This spin-transfer-torque (STT) based magnetic states, promise much better storage capabilities than conventional charge based RAM. Harnessing, information storage through the spin of electrons, manipulated with the magnetic state leads to torque based angular momentum conservation, is known as Spin-Transfer Torque-Magnetic Random-Access Memory (STT-MRAM).
"STT-MRAM devices are non-volatile and have much higher storage densities and endurance than current CMOS based RAM technologies", says Dr. S.K Sharma.
"Our devices have very low switching current density and free-layer switching duration of less than three nanoseconds (1 nanosecond = 10-9 seconds). This is a very promising start and further optimization will make them candidates for next-generation RAM devices", says Dr. Srinivasan, Associate Professor and co-author of the paper.
The STT-MRAM is the most studied candidacy for various next-generation electronic devices and major semiconductor foundries are investing in its development. Companies such as IBM, Samsung, Everspin, Toshiba, Avalanche Technologies, Spin Transfer Technologies and Crocus are developing STT-MRAM chips. Recent advances such as those shown by the IIT Mandi team, enables indigenous technology development and commercialization in the cutting-edge area that may be the mainstay of game-changing technology.
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