Ever lose data because your computer loses power? Chia-Ling Chien, a professor of physics at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, may have a solution. He developed a new chromium dioxide material called "half-metallic ferromagnet" that could change the way computer memory works. Computer memory currently uses dynamic random access memory (DRAM). Chien's material enables a new technology called magnetic random access memory (MRAM), which he says will allow retention of data even when power is lost. "Capacitors in current memory systems leak and have to be refreshed to prevent data loss," says Chien. "MRAM relies on magnetic orientation. Loss of power would not mean a loss of the data it stores," he says. MRAM harnesses the power of the electron's spin, a characteristic that conventional electronic circuits do not use. Electronic spin and a material's magnetic property are linked. The new chromium dioxide material is 96% spin-polarized, meaning that nearly all electrons spin in the same orientation. The spin-polarized material is thought to be useful in electrodes, where controlling the magnetization makes the junction switch between high and low electrical resistance. For more information, go to www.pha.jhu.edu.
More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
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