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T-rays research accelerates computer memory by a factor of 1,000

A group of Russian and European researchers has introduced a new method of quickly switching the computer memory cells.Using terahertz radiation named T-rays, the rate of cell-resetting can be increased by a factor of 1,000.

Together with their colleagues from Germany and the Netherlands, scientists at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have found a way to significantly improve computer performance. In their paper published in Nature Photonics, they propose the use of the so-called T-waves, or terahertz radiation as a means of resetting computer memory cells. This process is several thousand times faster than magnetic-field-induced switching.

The research mentions the use of T-rays for swapping out the magnetic fields. This could boost the cell-resetting process by a groundbreaking factor of 1,000, resulting in the creation of ultrafast memory.

You might be wondering what’s so special about T-rays. These are basically a series of short EM pulses at terahertz frequencies. The team has performed an experiment with thulium orthoferrite (TmFeO₃), achieving  higher speeds with an external magnetic field to control the spins.

However, when T-rays were used, the spins were controllable at a much faster rate and, without an external field, too. The researchers claim that their study is the first one to make use of such mechanism to control the resetting of magnetic subsystems.

The scientists are yet to publish their results on the actual PC memory cells. So, it can’t be predicted when we’ll see T-rays being used in our PCs.

The figure shows the spin and lattice structure of thulium orthoferrite (TmFeO₃) on the left and the T-ray-induced transitions between the energy levels of thulium ions (Tm³⁺), which trigger coherent spin dynamics (memory switching), on the right.

The scientists expect their “T-ray switching” to work with other materials as well. Thulium orthoferrite, which was used in the experiment, happens to be convenient for the purposes of demonstration, but the proposed magnetization control scheme itself is applicable to many other magnetic materials.

“There was a Soviet research group that used orthoferrites in their studies, so this was always kind of a priority field for us. This research can be seen as a follow-up on their studies,” says Anatoly Zvezdin.

source: Nature Photonics

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