A group of researcher recently took next step in the direction of flexible electronics. It was successful in developing a new kind of magnetic memory card that can be fixed in flexible plastic material. A high-performance device, this one is expected to be of great use with respect to numerous applications related to wearable electronics, robotics, and healthcare. The device is able to perform on this level for being based on a latest technology called Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (MRAM), a potent alternative to the normal memory solutions that are -prevalent these days. Unlike the most commonly used Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) known for storing data through electric charge, the MRAM utilizes magnetic storage elements.
Figure 1: Flexible Memory device
Though it is not much in us, the technology used by MRAM is very promising due to its higher speed and lesser power usage. The magnetic storage elements of this new kind of MRAM are constituted by a pair of ferromagnetic plates that are separated from each other via a thin insulation layer, the three are together termed as Magnetic Tunnel Junction (MTI). The application of external magnetic field one can easily control the direction of ferromagnetic plates magnetization.
If the magnetizations being carried out are in parallel direction, chances are that electron will travel through the insulating layer. On an opposite mode, when the magnetizations are in opposite directions the tunneling rate of electrons is much lower. This permits the MTJ to exists in low as well as high resistance state. This simplifies the data reading process for which one only needs to measure the resistance.
Team leader, Yang Hyunson, the associate professor from NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Department explains the process, “Flexible electronics will become the norm in the near future, and all new electronic components should be compatible with flexible electronics. We are the first team to fabricate magnetic memory on a flexible surface, and this significant milestone gives us the impetus to further enhance the performance of flexible memory devices and contribute towards the flexible electronics revolution."