Researchers from UC Berkeley and UC Riverside developed a new ultra-fast method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals. The researchers say that this could be applied to future MRAM chips, to provide much faster write speeds and more efficient operation.
The researchers built special circuits to study how magnetic metals respond to electrical pulses as short as a few picoseconds. The researchers found that in a magnetic alloy made up of gadolinium and iron, these fast electrical pulses can switch the direction of the magnetism in less than 10 picoseconds, orders of magnitude faster than any other MRAM technology.
The researchers used their experience with the specific alloy and found another suitable material - in a second study, it was found that when you stack a single-element magnetic metal such as cobalt on top of the gadolinium-iron alloy, the interaction between the two layers enables the manipulate of the magnetism of the cobalt on unprecedented time-scales as well.