In electronics, you generally know you're onto a good thing when companies and researchers are practically falling over each other to get to grips with a new technology before the rest.

One area that seems to be attracting such interest is the development of magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM), which is currently occupying the labs of IBM, Toshiba and now a group of German scientists.

Tiny magnets

The German take on MRAM involves nanometre-scale magnets that flip polarity to store binary digits. Where it differs from the work at IBM and Toshiba is in the speed at which those flips stabilise into consistent zeroes or ones.

Future perfect?

The result is – in theory – memory that will be 30 times faster than the speediest conventional RAM available now.

Should the team ever develop a working MRAM device, it will combine speed with low power-consumption, making it perfect for the mobile devices of the future.