Holograms, not just for storage anymore

A recent article I read (Holograms put storage capacity in a spin) discusses a novel approach to holographic data storage, this time using magnetic spin waves to encode holographic information on magnetic memory.

It turns out holograms can be made with any wave like phenomena and optical holograms aren’t the only way to go. Magnetic (spin?) waves can also be used to create and read holograms.

These holograms are made in magnetic semiconductor material rather than photographic material. And because the wave nature of magnetic spin operates at a lower frequency than optics there is the potential for even greater densities than corresponding optical holographic storage.

A new memory emerges

The device is called a Magnonic Holographic Memory and it seems to work by applying spin waves through a magnetic substrate and reading (sensing) the resulting interference patterns below the device.

According to the paper, the device is theoretically capable of reading the magnetic (spin) state of hundreds of thousands of nano-magnetic bits in parallel. (Let’s see, that would be about 100KB of information in parallel). Which must have something to do with the holographic nature of the read out I would guess.

I haven’t the foggiest notion how all this works but it seems to be a fallout of some earlier spintronics work the researchers were doing. The paper showed a set of three holograms read out of  grid. And the prototype device seems to require a grid (almost core like) of magnetic material on top of the substrate which is the write head. Not clear if there was a duplicate of this grid below the material to read the spin waves but something had to be there.

The researchers indicated some future directions to shrink the device, primarily by shrinking what appears to be the write head and maybe the read headseven further. It’s also not clear what the magnetic substrate which is being read/written to and whether that can be shrunk any further.

The researchers said that although spin wave holographics cannot compete with the optical holographic storage in terms of propagation delays and seems to be noisier, spin wave holographics do appear to be much more appropriate for NM scale direct integration with electronic circuits.

Is this new generation of solid state storage?

Photo Credits: Spinning Top by RusselStreet