Japanese researchers have proved it is possible to manipulate magnetic domains in a semiconductor without using magnets. They simply use an electric field, generated by applying voltage to a nearby electrode, to shift magnetic domains.

That suggests flipping magnetic memory could become simpler and more efficient than it is now, allowing more compact and faster memory. Instead of using current to power an electromagnet to flip domains – an inefficient process – the middleman can be cut out and domains flipped directly.

This method can be used to make MRAM, which might be more power efficient than STT-RAM.