NEC and Tohaku University claim to have developed the world's first content addressable memory system that uses spintronics to store data even when there is no standby power. Spintronics is a technology for controlling not only individual electronics, but their spin as well, increasing the amount of information that can be stored per electron. The technology promises to increase the efficiency with which devices consume power. Because data is stored in the spin of an electron, rather than its presence, information is encoded without moving the electron at a transistor gate level, which allows less power to be used in the encoding process. The system that NEC and Tohaku University have developed uses magnets to maintain "the same high operation speed and non-volatile operation as existing circuits when processing and storing data on a circuit while power is off", NEC wrote in a statement on Monday. The electrons retain their spin orientation when no longer exposed to the magnetic field, so data can be stored with no power running through the system.
For more on this story, read NEC claims spintronics memory breakthrough on ZDNet UK.