Magnetic Memory’s Hidden Language Imagine a world where materials have memories. Not memories of the past, as humans have, but memories that influence their behaviour under certain circumstances. Despite it sounding like science fiction this phenomenon is very real. Welcome to the world of magnetic hysteresis, where materials remember their previous magnetic state.

Some basics, magnetic hysteresis before getting into its complex details. Magnetism is a fundamental force of nature that governs the behaviour of some materials and is at the centre of this phenomenon. Usually, when we think of magnets, we imagine the ones attached to our fridge doors or the north-pointing needle on a compass. But the idea of magnetism extends well beyond these common cases. Magnetic moments are alignment of tiny atomic dipoles within a material governing magnetism. The substance becomes magnetized and displays characteristics like attraction or repulsion to other magnets when these magnetic moments align in the same direction.

The Magnetic Hysteresis Dance Lets begin to now include magnetic hysteresis in the equation. Imagine a material that is going through a magnetization and demagnetization process. The material becomes magnetized when an external magnetic field is introduced to it, if its magnetic moments align with the field. However, when the external field is removed, the material does not return to its initial state right away. Instead, it holds a certain level of magnetization, forming what is referred to as hysteresis loops or magnetic memory.

The memory of the material’s magnetic past is captured by this hysteresis loop in Figure 1. The loop shows how the material responds to changes in the external magnetic field by remembering both its previous and current states. This magnetic storage systems is like a hard drives, where data is encoded based on the orientation of magnetic domains within the storage medium, this memory is vital.

Uses and Effects

Magnetic hysteresis has applications that range from engineering to medicine. For example, in magnetic data storage, hysteresis must be understood and controlled to guarantee accurate data preservation and retrieval. Hysteresis is necessary in the subject of magnetostriction, which involves materials changing shape in response to magnetic fields. Scientists are researching possibilities of magnetic hysteresis use in cutting edge fields like spintronics, using the spin of an electron to process and store data. This will transform information processing by creating quicker, more energy efficient computing devices by using the memory properties of magnetic materials.

Mastering magnetic hysteresis can help us better understand magnetism, which could have a major effect on the future of technology.

 

 

Figure 1: Hysteresis Loop, image taken from hyperphysics.edu

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