A gadolinium layer of no more than one nanometer in thickness is capable of combining the magnetic world with electronics. In this way, it will be possible to put a magnetic memory element directly to a silicon transistor: the basic building block of information technology. Memory that is directly coupled to processing power, is an attractive and energy efficient option. A magnetic layer, placed on a transistor, yields a powerful new component combining memory and processing power in a very direct way. This is good for cutting energy consumption, of vital importance in mobile devices.
Now that the contact problem has been solved, scientist can start designing new components in which electronic and magnetic technology is combined.
Intel is also working on other ways to connect memory and processors more tightly.
Intel showed off an 80-core processor at its developer forum taking place in San Francisco this week and one of the prominent features of the chip is that each core is connected directly to a 256MB memory chip through a technology called Through Silicon Vias, or TSV.
The memory wedded to the processor cores could constitute the entire memory needed for a computer. The memory chips attached to the 80-core processor are SRAM, a relatively expensive memory that Intel still makes. The next step is to see how well DRAM works with TSV.