News of the WeekCondensed-Matter Physics

Spintronics Innovation Bids to Bolster Bits

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Science  05 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5578, pp. 30
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5578.30a

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Changes in the orientation of bits of magnetic data alter the electrical resistance of electrons flowing through the read head, translating the magnetic data into a stream of electrical pulses. In the 1 July issue of Physical Review B, materials scientists report on the largest effect ever seen of a phenomenon known as ballistic magnetoresistance (BMR). The larger BMR effect could lead to smaller and more sensitive read heads capable of reading smaller magnetic bits, which, in turn, could allow diskmakers to boost the storage density of disk drives to a staggering 1 trillion bits per square inch.