University researchers working under a National Science Foundation-funded study have created an external magnetic field-resistant memory technology that could potentially be used in artificial intelligence hardware, cryptocurrency mining and space exploration initiatives in the future.
NSF said Tuesday a research team from Northwestern University and Italy's University of Messina used antiferromagnetic materials for the development of a new magnetic memory device.
Pedram Khalili, an electrical and computer engineer at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and the lead for the NSF-backed study, said antiferromagnetic materials present possibilities to address the issues of ferromagnetic, magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM).
Current memory devices are expected to be rendered unsustainable considering AI applications' increasing use of larger datasets to function.
"Antiferromagnets show the potential for scalability, high write speed, and immunity to tampering by external magnetic fields — all necessary components to make faster devices to support the rapid growth of the computing, networking and data storage industries," Khalili explained.
The antiferromagnetic memory device was designed to be compatible with existing semiconductor production approaches and to operate with low electrical current.
"This was a key milestone, as we demonstrated no new capital expenditure needed by companies that would want to adopt antiferromagnetic MRAM technology," Khalili said.