We live in a world where the amount of data and information is staggering. For this reason, the “insiders” are constantly looking for ever faster and more efficient data archiving techniques. Now, a researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology has developed a technique that is incredibly fast, ‘like light’.
In fact, dr. Youri van Hees, after spending the last four years working on so-called “femtosecond laser” (also used in eye surgery), analyzed the use of ultra-short light pulses to be able to write informationthus combining the advantages of both light and magnetic memory.
His new research has a high scientific value as it marks an important step towards the use of light as a technology to write information on a magnetic support. A target of great interest for i data centers of all the worldin order to obtain the most efficient possible transmission of information, also from an energy point of view.
“Now people they have been using magnets to store data for a long time. This is done in the form of bits, the familiar zeros and ones, which are like tiny magnetic domains with a north pole and a south pole. To write data, we make these poles move, so as to generate a magnetic field”explained Dr. van Hees.
“In fact, the hard drive of a laptop, for example, contains a small coil with which to be able to write small magnetic domains and, until now, there has always been a need for an electronic intermediary to do so, as it must be operated. A process, this, that costs extra time and energy”added the author.
Instead, in the new proposed technique, the use of ultrafast light pulses not only was it able to move the electrons that carry information, it also allowed the north and south poles of the magnetic domains to be relocated, allowing the intermediate electronic step to be skipped.
Dr. van Hees lined up a few short pulses of light like railroad cars, using this particular setup for affect magnetic materials with various small mirrors. A procedure that would allow knowing in advance, and with certainty, whether a “0” or a “1” will be inserted without first having to know the initial state of the bit, thus making it even more efficient.
“To make the bits stable with this new method of light, we also had to study which magnetic materials might be the most suitable. We can’t use the standard formula of layers of cobalt and gadolinium, but adding an extra atomic layer of terbium, a ferromagnetic metal, would work very well. For now we are still looking for the right balance”said the author.
Speaking of new storage and computing technologies, do you know what a quantum computer is? And what can a quantum computer do?