September 21, 2005 – Hitachi Ltd. has announced that it has developed technology that promises to significantly increase the data storage capacity of MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) devices, according to the Nikkei English News.
MRAM is a next-generation nonvolatile memory device that can retain data when the power is cut, so it consumes far less power than conventional volatile DRAM.
In an MRAM device, the data bits are stored as changes in the magnetic properties of the magnetoresistive elements that functions as the memory cells. Working with Tohoku University, Hitachi has developed a more sensitive material for this magnetoresistive element. Made from a mix of magnesium oxide, cobalt, iron and boron, the new element undergoes a change in magnetic state when subjected to a current of just 10,000 amperes per centimeter – 1/100 as large as the electric current required of conventional materials.
Hitachi hopes to have a practical version of the technology ready around 2010.