Nanomagnetic vortices could lead to bigger hard drives, faster RAM

You know, we were sitting in our editors' meeting the other day, and we all came to a very serious consensus about our reportage these days. There's been a serious dearth of vortices in our articles, and so we're going to do our darndest to bring you more coverage of these truly awesome swirling clouds. Fortunately for us, those egghead physicists down at Rice University know how to read our minds. A team over in Houston used a scanning ion microscope to create and measure "ultra-thin circular disks of soft magnetic cobalt" ranging in diameter from one micron to 38 microns. According to a press release issued by the university, the six micron wide (about the size of a red blood cell) magnetic vortex is "a cone-like structure that's created in the magnetic field at the disk when all the magnetic moments of the atoms in the disk align into uniform concentric circles." (Whatever that means.) Lead researcher Carl Rau, professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University, said that this new advance may lead to storage densities "in the range of terabits per square inch," and went on to say that "magnetic processors" and "high-speed magnetic RAM" may also be in the works. Now that we think about it, this is probably what would happen to the offspring of Storm and Magneto too.