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Research Topics in Nanotechnology: Advanced Data Storage and Spintronics - ELE00165M

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. James Lees
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module consists of lectures that focus on the fundamental principles and recent development of storage devices and their operation.

Related modules

No pre-requisites but Nano-stream modules are recommended

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

  • To introduce the fundamental concepts that underpin information storage.
  • To explain the principles of semiconductor storage and memories.
  • To explain the principles of magnetic recording.
  • To explain the principles of optical recording media.
  • To identify the limitations of the current storage technologies.
  • To explore candidates for next-generation storage technologies.
  • To develop skills in critically evaluating and synthesising new information based on researched information and writing concise technical reports appropriate for the target audience.

Module learning outcomes

  • Be able to explain the fundamental principles of information and information storage: Moore's law, von Neumann's model, bits and bytes, binary numbers, conversion, logical conjunctions, adders and subtractors.
  • Describe primary memories and hierarchy: Cache, register, racetrack memory, cloud and RAID.
  • Describe the principles of operation of solid-state memories: DRAM, flash, SRAM, MRAM, FeRAM, PRAM and ReRAM.
  • Describe the physical principles of magnetic storage (magnetic tape, drum/core/bubble memory, floppy/hard disks, energy-assisted recording) and optical storage (CD, MO, DVD and blue-ray discs).
  • Be able to differentiate between memories and storage.
  • Be able to construct concise technical reports that critically evaluate and synthesise new information based on research, appropriate for the target audience.


Task Length % of module mark
Individual report
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Individual report
N/A 100

Module feedback

'Feedback’ at a university level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme. We aim to help you reflect on your own learning and help you feel more clear about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you in both formative and summative assessments. A comprehensive guide to feedback and to forms of feedback is available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

The School of PET aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme. In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work. The School will endeavour to return all exam feedback within the timescale set out in the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time. The School would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback. The School will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum. Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate. Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Indicative reading

S. X. Wang and A. M. Taratorin, Magnetic Information Storage Technology (Academic Press, New York, 1999).
C. D. Mee and E. D. Daniel, Magnetic Recording,(McGraw Hill, New York, 1996).
D. Richter, Flash Memories: Economic Principles of Performance, Cost and Reliability Optimization (Springer, Berlin, 2013).
J. Brewer and M. Gill, Nonvolatile Memory Technologies with Emphasis on Flash: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Using Flash Memory Devices (Wiley-Blackwell, New York, 2008).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.