As conventional memory devices like the hard drives and flash drives, generally made of semiconductor materials reaching limit in terms of their size and storage capacity a new emerging technology- Resistive Random Access Memory (RRAM)- holds the promise of cheaper and efficient replacement to existing technologies.
Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad have now studied the effect of a magnetic field on the behavior of an RRAM, to enable remote control of RRAMs, without any physical connections to the device.
RRAM is a type of non-volatile Random Access Memory (RAM) which means the data on the memory device is not wiped out once the power to the device is turned off. Hard drives on a computer, flash drives, and memory cards in a phone are all types of non-volatile memory devices. The RAM on a computer and smartphones, on the other hand, is a volatile memory device, meaning the data on the device gets cleared every time the device is shut down.
RRAMs work is based on a phenomenon called resistive switching, wherein data is stored on the device by switching between a high resistance state (HRS) and a low resistance state (LRS) to store the 0s and 1s, the two components of a binary language which computers use to communicate. The switching between HRS and LRS is controlled using a voltage applied to the device.
In their new study, the researchers studied the effect of a magnetic field on the resistive switching ability of an RRAM made of Silver/ Titanium Dioxide/Fluorine doped Tin oxide (Ag/TiO2/FTO). The study revealed an ability to control the resistance switching on such an RRAM, by varying an applied magnetic field. The researchers have hypothesized that Lorentz force, a force arising due to the presence of electric and magnetic fields may be playing a significant role in switching the resistance states.
Conventional RRAMs achieve resistance switching by varying the voltage applied to the device, which requires a physical connection to the device. Using magnetic fields to alter the resistance states allows a remote switching of the resistance states, without the need for a physical connection. The researchers believe that the present study would be useful in designing RRAM devices that could be operated with a magnetic field, increasing their efficiency.