Stuart Parkin

Stuart Parkin1999 - 2000
International Business Machines

"For pioneering discoveries and original device demonstrations on giant magnetoresistive (GMR) read head technology for the magnetic recording industry "

Dr. Stuart S. P. Parkin joined IBM Research in San Jose in 1982 as a World Trade Post-doctoral Fellow, becoming a permanent member of the staff the following year. His current work involves the study of magnetic tunnel junctions and the development of an advanced non-volatile magnetic random access memory based on magnetic tunnel junction storage cells.

His earlier research interests have included organic superconductors, ceramic high temperature supercon-ductors and, most recently, the study of magnetic thin-film structures and nanostructures exhibiting giant magnetoresistance (GMR). In 1991, he discovered oscillations in the magnitude of the interlayer exchange coupling and GMR in transition-metal magnetic multilayered GMR systems.

For this and related work, Dr. Parkin shared both the American Physical Society's International New Materials Prize (1994) and the European Physical Society's Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize (1997). Dr. Parkin has received other awards including the Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award (1991) and the Charles Vernon Boys Prize from the Institute of Physics, London (1991), as well as several awards from IBM.

A native of the United Kingdom, Dr. Parkin received his B.A. degree (1977) and was elected a Research Fellow (1979) at Trinity College in Cambridge, England, and was awarded his Ph.D degree (1980) at the Cavendish Laboratory, also in Cambridge.

Dr. Parkin is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 1997, he was elected a member of the IBM Academy of Technology and named one of IBM's Master
Inventors. Earlier this year he was appointed an IBM Fellow, IBM'S highest
technical honor.

Parkin made ground-breaking contributions in several fields of materials research.
In recent years, he has been instrumental in improving the density of magnetic stor-age devices and securing IBM's continued leadership in this technology. Parkin's work on magnetic multilayers led him to discoveries and understanding of giant magnetoresistance (GMR) and oscillatory exchange coupling, phenomena critical to the development of practical GMR devices. Then, working with storage systems researchers and engineers, he continued to make inventions that were vital to a new generation of highly sensitive read/write heads.

More recently, Parkin has exploited GMR in a new type of random access memory cell that is potentially ultrafast and that would retain stored data when a computer is shut down. This technology-known as magnetic random-access memory, or MRAM-could enable truly non-volatile random access memory with both the high speed of today's StaticRAM and the high density of DynamicRAM. Such a memorycould enable instant-on computers among other uses.