Researchers from Colorado State University demonstrated a new approach to store information using electron spin. Using a thin film of barium ferrite (a magnetic insulator), the researchers managed to switch magnetic moments. This is the first time an insulator was used for such an application.

This could be a major spintronics breakthrough, as an insulator material may enable simpler and more efficient storage medium. In an insulator, perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) originates from the intrinsic magneto-crystalline anisotropy of the insulator, rather than interfacial anisotropy in a metal.