Spintronics is an emerging technology exploiting both the intrinsic spin of the electron and its associated magnetic moment, in addition to its fundamental electronic charge, in solid-state devices. Spintronics differs from the older magnetoelectronics, in that the spins are not only manipulated by magnetic fields, but also by electrical fields. Spintronics emerged from discoveries in the 1980s concerning spin-dependent electron transport phenomena in solid-state devices.
The Application of Spintronics article tells that the discovery and application by IBM researcher Stuart Parkin and his colleagues of a “spin valve”—essentially the capability to alter the magnetic state of materials at the atomic level—changed the landscape of magnetic data storage by dramatically increasing storage capacity. The first use of spin-valve sensors in hard disk drive read heads was in the IBM Deskstar 16GP Titan, which was released in 1997 with 16.8 GB of storage. Today, the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 provides up to 3 TB of storage.
Spintronics is also used to implement memory: MRAM being one of the technologies utilizing spin. Everspin, Freescale, Honeywell, IBM, Infineon, Micron, and Toshiba, as well as start-ups and university research groups—are busy investigating MRAM technology. Spintronics Memory article says that the plan is that future MRAM chips could combine all the advantages of existing memories with none of their shortcomings.
Spintronic Memories to Revolutionize Data Storage article says that superdense MRAM chips based on the bizarre property of electron spin could replace all other forms of data storage. As we build transistors and other components with nanoscale dimensions, we’re fast approaching the point when moving charge is not going to be enough to keep Moore’s Law chugging along. Spin is a fundamental yet elusive quantum attribute of electrons and other subatomic particles. It is often regarded as a bizarre form of nanoworld angular momentum, and it underlies permanent magnetism. What makes spin interesting for electronics is that it can assume one of two states relative to a magnetic field, typically referred to as up and down, and you can use these two states to represent the two values of binary logic—to store a bit, in other words. In principle, manipulating spin is faster and requires far less energy than pushing charge around, and it can take place at smaller scales. We’re still decades away from being able to build spin transistors, but chips that exploit spin in a more modest way are already available. At least one company, Everspin Technologies, of Chandler, Ariz., is now selling magnetoresistive random access memory, or MRAM, a kind of spintronic memory. And many others—including Freescale, Honeywell, IBM, Infineon, Micron, and Toshiba, as well as start-ups and university research groups—are busy investigating MRAM technology. In a tiny region of that material, spin up means 0, and spin down means 1. Proponents say that as MRAM improves, it could combine all the advantages of SRAM, DRAM, flash, and hard disks—with none of their shortcomings. It would be a compact, speedy, low-power, and nonvolatile “universal memory.”
Converting Charge into Spin for Spintronics article tells that encoding bits using the spin of electrons, instead of the usual charge, promises to allow even smaller circuits—but the known processes of flipping electrons’ spins with external magnetic fields are inefficient and require very low temperatures, making such “spintronic” devices impractical. Now, a team of researchers from Germany, the UK, the Czech Republic, and Japan have found a way to manipulate the spin of electrons using electric fields instead of magnetic ones. Their method, reported in the August issue of Nature Materials, could drastically reduce computers’ energy consumption and lessen heat problems caused by miniaturization. Flipping the spin to change a bit requires much less energy than moving charge. You need an effective way to convert charge into spin current in one part of the circuitry that can then be converted again into electric signals in another part.
To be fail on this new MRAM technology compare it also to other storage alternatives shown in Top 10 Candidates for Next-Gen Storage to make your own judgement.