Multiferrorics Can Make Low-power, Instant-on Computing a Reality

By CIOReview | Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FREMONT, CA: Low-power, instant-on computing could soon be a reality. An international team of researchers led by a group at Cornell University have developed a multiferroric memory device that can operate at room temperature. The team believes that further development of this device would lead to low-power instant-on computing as the device can be switched with voltage alone, instead of current.

A multiferroric material exhibits ferromagnetic and ferroelectric properties simultaneously. The device, by combining magnetic and ferroelectric properties aids the controlling of charges and spins just by applying a voltage.

John Heron, a post doctoral associate at Cornell University says that this memory device consumes less energy and does not dissipate much heat as it does not use electricity. He adds that the heat dissipation due to current flow has been heating computers and limiting battery life.

Dexter Johnson for IEEE reports that the major breakthrough for the research was the process of demonstrating the kinetics of switching in a bismuth ferrite device and discovery of multiferroic memory device which requires an order of magnitude lower energy compared to spin-transfer-torque (STT) memory devices.

The multiferroric material has been made out of bismuth ferrite which has the unique property of possessing a permanent local magnetic field while always possessing an electric polarization that can be switched by applying an electric field but with the operational limitation of material Kelvin (-269 Celsius), now that the multiferrorics can operate at room temperature, it can surely open doors to more result oriented research.