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New Magnetic Switching Method Could Dramatically Speed Up Data Storage
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Written by Gizmo   
Monday, 19 March 2007 19:22

Science Daily:

Scientists of the Research Centre Jülich, Germany, have found a fundamentally new magnetic switching method which achieves the fastest speed ever reported by applying an external magnetic field. The results that are presented in a current article in the  scientific journal Physical Review Letters could introduce new possibilities for future data storage applications with ultimate speeds.

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In disk-shaped small magnets of about a millionth of a meter the magnetization can naturally align to form vortex structures. These vortices are in many ways analogous to those which form in familiar situations such as water flowing down a drain or air spiraling in a hurricane. Magnetic vortices also have a centre called the "core", a region spanning about ten nanometres – the length of less than one hundred atoms.

The vortex core is a region where the magnetization points perpendicular to the sur-face, either "up" or "down". This naturally lends itself to applications in binary data storage, especially as the magnetization direction is very stable. This stability is caused by the strongest force present in magnets, the so-called exchange interaction. Only by exploiting this force does it become possible to flip the core without applying very strong fields.

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