via Kläui Lab
Diagram of a device architecture which employs the piezoelectric effect
A research team of Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz has developed a technique that will potentially halve the energy required to write data to servers and make it easier to construct complex server architectures
- Whether it’s sending the grandparents a few pictures of the kids, streaming a movie or music, or surfing the Internet for hours, the volume of data our society generates is increasing all the time. But this comes at a price, since storing data consumes huge amounts of energy. Assuming that data volumes continue to grow in future, the related energy consumption will also increase by several orders of magnitude. For example, it is predicted that energy consumption in the IT sector will rise to ten petawatt-hours, or ten trillion kilowatt-hours, by 2030. This would be equivalent to around half of the electricity produced worldwide.
- But what can be done to reduce the amount of power needed by servers to function? Data is usually stored in a storage layer with the help of magnetization. To write or delete the data, electric currents are passed through ferromagnetic multilayer structures, where the flowing electrons generate an effective magnetic field. The magnetization in the storage layer “senses” this magnetic field and changes its direction accordingly. However, each electron can only be used once. An important step forward in energy-efficient data storage involves the construction of a ferromagnetic storage layer that includes a heavy metal such as platinum. As the current flows through the heavy metal, the electrons switch back and forth between the heavy metal and the ferromagnetic layer. The great advantage of this technique is that the electrons can be re-used multiple times, and the current required to write the data decreases by a factor of up to a thousand.
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