At the International Conference on Magnetism today in Karlsruhe, Germany, IBM (NYSE: IBM) Fellow Stuart Parkin received the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Magnetism award and the Louis Neel Medal for his pioneering work and fundamental contributions to the development of spintronic nano-materials and nano-devices for magnetic sensing, memory and logic devices.
The IUPAP Magnetism Award and Neel Medal are presented every three years to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of magnetism. The award winner is selected by a committee composed of the members of the IUPAP International Commission on Magnetism (C9), together with past recipients of the award.
The Neel medal, established in 1993 in recognition of the scientific achievements of Louis Eugene Felix Neel, who shared the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics for his fundamental research and discoveries concerning antiferromagnetism, recognizes outstanding achievements in the fertilization of the earth sciences by the transfer and application of fundamental theory and/or experimental techniques of solid state physics.
Most recently, Dr. Parkin's focus has been on his latest invention, IBM Racetrack Memory, an entirely new way to store digital information that could lead to computer memory that combines the high performance and reliability of flash memory with the low cost and high capacity of the hard disk drive.
IBM's Racetrack Memory technology, so named because the data "races" around a nano-wire "track," is the latest evolution in the field of spintronics, which uses the spin, rather than the charge, of an electron to create electronic devices. Within the next ten years, the technology could lead to solid state electronic devices - with no mechanical moving parts, which should therefore make it more durable - capable of holding far more data in the same amount of space than is possible today.
For example, this technology could enable a handheld device such as an MP3 player to store around 500,000 songs or around 3,500 movies - 100 times more than is possible today - in the same space with lower cost, lower power consumption, and higher durability. The result: massive amounts of personal storage that could run on a single battery for weeks at a time and could possibly last for decades.