Researchers at UCLA have developed a variant of MRAM, which they claim can reach much higher densities and consume up to 1000 times less power than current STT-MRAM.
Called MeRAM for magnetoelectric random access memory, the technology replaces the spin-transfer torque feature of MRAM, which uses electric current to move electrons to write data into the memory, with the difference in electrical potential (voltage) to write data into the memory. According to the scientists, this approach "resulted in computer memory that generates much less heat, making it 10 to 1,000 times more energy-efficient." Also, the scientists believe that MeRAM can be more than five-times as dense as STT-MRAM.
The research was published in a paper called "Voltage-Induced Switching of Nanoscale Magnetic Tunnel Junctions" at the 2012 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco on December 12.
While the researchers said that the technology has "great potential to be used in future memory chips for almost all electronic applications, including smart-phones, tablets, computers and microprocessors, as well as for data storage, like the solid-state disks used in computers and large data centers", there was no information how soon it could become commercially available.