Apparatus and methods are disclosed that enable writing data on, and reading data of, multi-state elements having greater than two states. The elements may be made of magnetoplastic and/or magnetoelastic materials, including, for example, magnetic shape-memory alloy or other materials that couple magnetic and crystallographic states. The writing process is preferably conducted through the application of a magnetic field and/or a mechanical action. The reading process is preferably conducted through atomic-force microscopy, magnetic- force microscopy, spin-polarized electrons, magnetooptical Kerr effect, optical interferometry or other methods, or other methods/effects. The multi functionality (crystallographic, magnetic, and shape states each representing a functionality) of the multi -state elements allows for simultaneous operations including read&write, sense&indicate, and sense&control. Embodiments of the invention may be used, for example, for storing, modifYing, and accessing data for device, sensor, actuator, logic and memory applications. Embodiments may be particularly effective for non-volatile memory or other read&write, sense&indicate, and/or sense&control functions in computer or other applications; such simultaneous operation of two (or more) of said multiple functionalities open new pathways for miniaturization of devices.
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