Manufacturing Magnetic Memory
Researchers at the NSF-funded Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC) for Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (NASCENT) have created templates for manufacturing magnetic memory modules. This was a collaborative effort between the Center and its industrial partner Zyvex Labs, a Dallas-based microchip manufacturer.
The purpose of this project was to study the resilience – or the ability to resist deformation – of materials that will be used in tools and equipment. Magnetic memory is intended to be an evolution of the random access memory (RAM) found in electronic devices today and promises improved performance, stability, and life.
This project addresses NASCENT’s main thrust of patterning nanostructures for mobile computing technologies. The challenge in developing this type of technology is to make the structures as small as possible while maintaining enough control to create consistent shapes in consistent sizes. This focus on size exists because each structure, or bit, carries out a process. The number of bits that fit in a given area determines how small, powerful, and efficient the product will be.
In their exercise, NASCENT and Zyvex created some features so small that they must now develop advanced atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques to capture better images.