Scientists at the Universities of Birmingham, Bristol and Colorado, Boulder have moved a step closer to developing the next generation of data storage and processing devices, using an emerging science called skyrmionics.
Skyrmionics focuses on harnessing the properties of nanometer-sized structures in magnetic films called skyrmions. These spin on the surface of the magnet like tiny vortices, and scientists believe they could be used to store much denser quantities of data than is currently possible using existing magnetic data storage techniques on which modern computers currently rely.
The shape of these skyrmion structures means data encoded in them could also be transferred using much less power than is currently achievable.
But arranging these new structures in a way that makes them capable of storing and transferring data has proved a challenge.
In a new study, published in Nature Physics, the research team of UK-based theorists and US-based experimentalists has demonstrated a way of combining multiple skyrmions together in structures they call ‘skyrmion bags’, which allows a far greater packing of information in skyrmion systems.