Nav: Home

UNH researchers find combination for small data storage and tinier computers

April 12, 2018

DURHAM, N.H. - It may sound like a futuristic device out of a spy novel, a computer the size of a pinhead, but according to new research from the University of New Hampshire, it might be a reality sooner than once thought. Researchers have discovered that using an easily made combination of materials might be the way to offer a more stable environment for smaller and safer data storage, ultimately leading to miniature computers.

"We're really optimistic about the possibilities," said Jiadong Zang, assistant professor of physics. "There is a push in the computer industry toward smaller and more powerful storage, yet current combinations of materials can create volatile situations, where data can be lost once the device is turned off. Our research points to this new combination as a much safer option. We're excited that our findings might have the potential to change the landscape of information technology."

In their study, recently published in the journal Science Advances, the researchers outline their proposed combination which would allow for a more stable perpendicular anisotropic energy (PMA), the key driving component in a computer's RAM (random-access memory) or data storage. The material would be made up of ultrathin films, known as Fe monolayers, grown on top of non-magnetic substances, in this case X nitride substrate, where X could be boron, gallium, aluminum or indium. According to the research, this combination showed anisotropic energy would increase by fifty times, from 1 meV to 50 meV, allowing for larger amounts of data to be stored in smaller environments. There is a provisional patent pending which has been filed by UNHInnovation, which advocates for, manages, and promotes UNH's intellectual property.

In an era dependent on extremely large amounts of information, from laptops to phones, Zang says that there is a huge demand for more efficient devices. Creating smaller processors and storage units is an important step, not only for size but for data safety.

"There is a huge movement to switch to magnetic random access memory (MRAM) for storage in computers because it is more stable," said Zang. "Not only is data storage safer, but there is also less radiation emitted from the device. Our calculations and material combination opens the door to possibilities for much smaller computers for everything from basic data storage to traveling on space missions. Imagine launching a rocket with a computer the size of a pin head - it not only saves space but also a lot of fuel."
-end-
This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, under award no. DE-SC0016424. For more information on licensing this patent-pending technology, contact unh.innovation@unh.edu.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH's research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.

University of New Hampshire

Related Data Storage Articles:

Discrimination, lack of diversity, & societal risks of data mining highlighted in big data
A special issue of Big Data presents a series of insightful articles that focus on Big Data and Social and Technical Trade-Offs.
CWRU researchers find a chemical solution to shrink digital data storage
Chemists at Case Western Reserve University found that commonly used polymer films containing two dyes can optically store data in a quaternary (four-symbol) code, potentially requiring about half as much space as binary code storage.
Journal AAS publishes first data description paper: Data collection and sharing
AAS published its first data description paper on June 8, 2017.
Magnetoelectric memory cell increases energy efficiency for data storage
A team of researchers has now developed a magnetoelectric random access memory (MELRAM) cell that has the potential to increase power efficiency, and thereby decrease heat waste, by orders of magnitude for read operations at room temperature.
New NIST data to aid production and storage of 'fascinating' medication
Amantadine hydrochloride may be the most common medication you've never heard of.
Ultra-thin multilayer film for next-generation data storage and processing
A team of scientists led by Associate Professor Yang Hyunsoo from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore's Faculty of Engineering has invented a novel ultra-thin multilayer film which could harness the properties of skyrmions as information carriers for storing and processing data on magnetic media.
73 percent of academics say access to research data helps them in their work; 34 percent do not publish their data
Combining results from bibliometric analyses, a global sample of researcher opinions and case-study interviews, a new report reveals that although the benefits of open research data are well known, in practice, confusion remains within the researcher community around when and how to share research data.
Nanomagnets for future data storage
An international team of researchers led by chemists from ETH Zurich have developed a method for depositing single magnetizable atoms onto a surface.
Stabilizing energy storage
University of Utah and University of Michigan chemists, participating in a US Department of Energy consortium, predict a better future for these types of batteries, called redox flow batteries.
A new perovskite could lead the next generation of data storage
EPFL scientists have developed a new perovskite material with unique properties that can be used to build next-generation hard drives.

Related Data Storage Reading:

Data Storage Networking: Real World Skills for the CompTIA Storage+ Certification and Beyond
by Nigel Poulton (Author)

Software-Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials: Cloud, Converged, and Virtual Fundamental Server Storage I/O Tradecraft
by Greg Schulz (Author)

Holographic Data Storage (Springer Series in Optical Sciences)
by Hans J. Coufal (Editor), Demetri Psaltis (Editor), Glenn T. Sincerbox (Editor), A.M. Glass (Editor), M.J. Cardillo (Editor)

Information Storage and Management: Storing, Managing, and Protecting Digital Information in Classic, Virtualized, and Cloud Environments
by EMC Education Services (Editor)

Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking
by Greg Schulz (Author)

Core Data in Swift: Data Storage and Management for iOS and OS X
by Marcus S. Zarra (Author)

Holographic Data Storage: From Theory to Practical Systems
by Kevin Curtis (Author), Lisa Dhar (Author), Adrian Hill (Author), William Wilson (Author), Mark Ayres (Author)

Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure: Best Practices for DevOps, Data Storage, High Availability, and More (Developer Reference)
by Microsoft Press

Computer Engineering, Data Storage, Networking and Security (Book)
by Nikola Zlatanov (Author)

MongoDB: The Definitive Guide: Powerful and Scalable Data Storage
by Kristina Chodorow (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Approaching With Kindness
We often forget to say the words "thank you." But can those two words change how you — and those around you — look at the world? This hour, TED speakers on the power of gratitude and appreciation. Guests include author AJ Jacobs, author and former baseball player Mike Robbins, Dr. Laura Trice, Professor of Management Christine Porath, and former Danish politician Özlem Cekic.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#509 Anisogamy: The Beginning of Male and Female
This week we discuss how the sperm and egg came to be, and how a difference of reproductive interest has led to sexual conflict in bed bugs. We'll be speaking with Dr. Geoff Parker, an evolutionary biologist credited with developing a theory to explain the evolution of two sexes, about anisogamy, sexual reproduction through the fusion of two different gametes: the egg and the sperm. Then we'll speak with Dr. Roberto Pereira, research scientist in urban entomology at the University of Florida, about traumatic insemination in bed bugs.