An electrical switch for magnetic current

A multiferroic tunnel junction provides storage media with increased data density

February 29, 2012

Switching of data memories may be enabled by a new mechanism in the future. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle use a short electric pulse to change the magnetic transport properties of a material sandwich consisting of a ferroelectric layer between two ferromagnetic materials. It could be assumed that an electric pulse only influences the electric transport properties. With the help of the new switching mechanism, information can be placed in four instead of just two states of a memory cell. This consequently increases storage density. This mechanism may also prove useful in spintronics. This type of electronics should be particularly efficient at processing data, as it does not just utilise the electrons’ charge, but also their spin, which could be regarded as their intrinsic angular momentum.

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