PORTLAND, Ore. Researchers at North Carolina State University said they were able to read and write bits at room temperature using magnetic nanodots that delivered 1 terabit of memory per centimeter2.
The ferromagnetic film on which the nanodots were based could lead to ultra-dense memory chips that store bits in the magnetic spin--either up or down--of each nanodot.
"The key thing is that these nanodots self-assemble exactly aligned with underlying lattice at a density of one terabit per square centimeter," said professor Jagdish Narayan, director of the National Science Foundation Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures at NC State. "We are able to epitaxially control the orientation each nanodot."
The nanodots themselves are composed of clusters of a magnetic nickel alloy that the researchers said precipitates into nanodots about 10 nanometers in diameter. They are composed of about 10,000 atoms. The nanodots make good candidates for magnetic memory chips since they automatically line up in the rows and columns needed by memory chips. The magnetic material can be grown in monolayers atop a conductor (titanium nitride) or an insulator (magnesium oxide), both of which have the same lattice spacing. They are also non-magnetic.
Besides magnetic memory chips, the researchers claim the material could also be used to cast ceramic automobile engines that could get 80 miles per gallon fuel economy by virtue of running at much higher temperatures than today's internal combustion engines. The high thermal conductivity of the ceramic material based on embedded metal nanodots also may have applications in solar energy generators.