Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nobel prize in physics

Disk technology takes Nobel Prize
French scientist Albert Fert and Peter Grunberg of Germany have won the 2007 Nobel Prize for physics.

They discovered the phenomenon of "giant magnetoresistance", in which weak magnetic changes give rise to big differences in electrical resistance.

The knowledge has allowed industry to develop sensitive reading tools to pull data off hard drives in computers, iPods and other digital devices.

It has made it possible to radically miniaturise hard disks in recent years.


Well, that's good timing. I just wrote about the field of disk technology here. That article isn't about giant magnetoresistance per se, but that part of physics is certainly an important part of the big picture.

Here are other reports on the news:

Nobel prize recognizes GMR pioneers
Giant magnetoresistance, or GMR, is the sudden change in electrical resistance that occurs when a material consisting of alternating ferromagnetic and non-magnetic metal layers is exposed to a sufficiently high magnetic field. In particular, the resistance becomes much lower if the magnetization in neighbouring layers is parallel and much higher if it is antiparallel. This change in resistance is due to "spin up" and "spin down" electrons scattering differently in the individual layers.

GMR has since been used to develop extremely small and sensitive read heads for magnetic hard-disk drives. These have allowed an individual data bit to be stored in a much smaller area on a disk, boosting the storage capacity greatly. The first commercial read heads based on GMR were launched by IBM in 1997 and GMR is now a standard technology found in nearly all computers worldwide and is also used in some digital cameras and MP3 players.


More:

Discoverers Of Giant Magnetoresistance Used In Hard Drives Win 2007 Nobel Prize In Physics

Magnetic Effect Nets a Nobel (Sub. rqd.)

Effect that Revolutionized Hard Drives Nets a Nobel (Sub. rqd.)

The physics prize inside the iPod (Sub. rqd.)

Nobel Focus: Sensitive Magnetic Sandwich

Small is beautiful: Incredible shrinking memory drives new IT (also here)

2007 Nobel Prize in Physics

Hard-disk breakthrough wins Nobel Prize

Hard Drive Pioneers Win Nobel Prize

Physics of Hard Drives Wins Nobel

Physics Nobel Goes to German, Frenchman (AFP)

A Nobel Nod for 'Giant' Discovery

Hard Drive Pioneers Win Nobel Prize

Nobel research means you can read this

Hard disk pioneers win physics Nobel

Disk technology takes Nobel Prize

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