New memory device for the gen-next computers and smart phones

New memory device for the gen-next computers and smart phones

A new-age memory device that can potentially replace existing memories including those used in computers and smart phones, has been created by Indian scientists and their collaborators in the USA and Singapore.

The silicon industry is on a constant look out for better memory technologies with higher endurance, lower cost and improved energy efficiency.

Created by scientists at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata with their colleges in Singapore and Yale University, the new device provides a promising answer to these queries.

Current flash memory technologies are based on metal-semiconductor junctions on
highly-doped semiconductors that tend to degrade after a large number of read-write cycles.

The endurance of the new memory device, on the other hand, far outstrip the old ones, is energy efficient and easy to fabricate.

"Our devices are based on (thin) films of transition metal complexes that show no signs of degradation even after a trillion cycles. They can be scaled down to incredibly small sizes (demonstrated down to a size of 60 square nano metre)," said Victor S Batista, professor of chemistry at Yale University and a co-author of the study.

"In a laptop computer 25% of energy consumption is in memories, in a server station 50% of energy is consumed in memories. Low energy memories are critical and these devices may be one of the lowest energy consuming memory devices," T Venkatesan, team leader from National University Singapore told DH.

The device withstood operation temperatures ranging from 80 to -30 degrees Celsius, demonstrating its ability to operate in conditions required for a majority of semiconductor devices.

Asked about its potential costs, the scientists said that the device would be cheaper than the existing flash memories.

"Currently, memory technologies can be expensive because they require difficult fabrication techniques and often involve rare and expensive heavy metals. Our devices are easy to fabricate and are organic in nature, so it is natural to anticipate they would be cost effective as compared to current technologies," said Batista.

While it takes several years for a new technology to become a commercial product, Venkatesan said he didn't see any "fundamental roadblocks" in the process. "We are looking for suitable partners to take this technology to the next stage," he added.

The creation of the device was reported in the October 23 issue of Nature Materials. The patent is jointly owned by the National University of Singapore and the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science.

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