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Boosting Data Storage Through the New MRAM Chip

We've all heard of RAM and the important role it plays in modern day PCs and other devices. Meant to store small bits of data for quick and uninhibited access, RAM chips maintain some of the most vital information needed to start your digital devices. However, a new form of RAM, known as Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory, or MRAM, is promising to revolutionize the industry.

The concept of MRAM is not entirely new. It has, after all, been in development since the 1990s. Up until now, however, the chip has taken a backseat to flash-based RAM and DRAM technology. In the past, MRAM technology relied on incredibly thin, ferromagnetic structures that were fragile, difficult to work with and unreliable. As this form of media could only store data for a period of less than one year, there simply was no practical application for the technology.

With the help of a highly specialized team of IT professionals within the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering with the National University of Singapore's Faculty of Engineering, the MRAM chip is finally gaining the recognition it deserves. The development team, who worked with officials from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, came up with a unique solution to the issue. Thanks to the implementation of larger ferromagnetic structures, some of them as much as 20 times thicker than previous ones, the team was able to store data for a minimum of 20 years.

Expected to strengthen data storage by providing increased RAM storage space as well as quickened access to the data stored within, the future of the technology has never been brighter. Fully confident in their design, the development team has already pursued a U.S. patent for the MRAM chip.

Dr. Yang Hyunsoo, leader of the development team of the MRAM technology, explained the consumer benefit of the new chip. He was quoted as saying: "From the consumer’s standpoint, we will no longer need to wait for our computers or laptops to boot up. Storage space will increase, and memory will be so enhanced that there is no need to regularly hit the ‘save’ button as fresh data will stay intact even in the case of a power failure. Devices and equipment can now have bigger memory with no loss for at least 20 years or probably more. Currently pursued schemes with a very thin magnetic layer can only retain information for about a year."

Hyunsoo continued highlighting consumer benefits of the MRAM chip, including the added value to modern smartphones, by saying: "With the heavy reliance on our mobile phones these days, we usually need to charge them daily. Using our new technology, we may only need to charge them on a weekly basis.”

While there is a clear benefit to utilizing MRAM technology in consumer-driven PCs, smartphones and other devices, the MRAM chip can be applied to other industries, as well. Industrial automation systems, healthcare organizations, robotics, military applications and aviation systems are all able to take advantage of MRAM technology in order to streamline day-to-day operations and bolster productivity across the board.


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