A universal memory that combines high speed and density with nonvolatility, and which is based on submicron magnetic elements, is currently being developed. In this article, I describe the principles of operation of magnetic random access memory (MRAM), highlight some of the technical challenges still remaining, and attempt to predict some of the innovations that may appear in future generations of the technology. MRAM is an emerging memory technology that is set to challenge virtually all of the currently established solid-state memories used in computing1 and 2. A hybrid between an electronic RAM chip and a hard disk drive, it uses magnetism to store digital information (as does the hard disk) but, like a RAM chip, is a solid-state device.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(03)00730-2