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Ultrafast magnetization switching with picosecond electrical pulses

In a paper recently published in Nature Electronics, researchers report a novel technique for magnetization switching using short 6-picosecond electrical pulses. The short electrical pulses induce a spin-orbit torque that switches the magnetization in a thin cobalt film. The switching is almost 100 times faster than in state-of-the-art spintronic devices.

While heat dissipation is usually a limiting factor for magnetic memory applications, the study finds that the fast heating actually aids the magnetization reversal. Moreover, the researchers found this technique to be highly energy efficient, with an energy cost below 50 pJ.

According to co-author Jeffrey Bokor, “such a high-speed, low-energy spintronic device can potentially tackle the performance limitations of current processor level memory systems, and it could also be used for logic application”.