Oddly enough, the recession can be good for technologies like this. Back in the boom times this kind of stuff would have been rushed into production before it was ready. On the other hand, for the last few years technology has been allowed to fully develop. Some things can't be rushed.
This same group was on the cusp of bringing magnetic bubble technology to fruition in 81ish. A big issue was scaling the very complex and exotic Liquid phase epitaxy process on expensive garnet wafers. Let's hope for no such problems here.
thanks for nice research report. It will be even better to attach a link to either some recent publications or a report containing detailed work. I actually did not understand "The key advantage of racetrack memories is that they do not move atoms—that is why flash memory, ferroelectric and even resistive memories wears out, because they are disrupting the state of matter," part very much.
Racetrack memories work like a shift register--only with magnetic domains on a nanowire doing the shifting. The cool thing about the physics, is that no matter which way current pulses the nanowire--up or down--the imparted momentum pushes all the existing domains on the nanowire along in the same direction. The domains appear to be "pushed" along the wire, but of course is just the spins of the atoms that are moving--like the "wave" at the ballpark, where everyone stays in their seat, but just stands up at the right moment, thereby presenting the illusion of a moving wave. Likewise, magnetic domains are shifted around the nanowire loop even though the atoms stay fixed in place.
Racetrack memories have been an intense research area for IBM Fellow Parkin since before 2007 when I first discovered his work. Since then, he has perfected most of the necessary components--read-head/write-head/shifter--and is now entering the "process integration" step, in which IBM will attempt to fabricate all the separate components on a single CMOS chip.