The technology combines silicon nanowires with a "ferroelectric" polymer, a material that switches polarity when electric fields are applied, making possible a new type of ferroelectric transistor.
"It's in a very nascent stage," said doctoral student Saptarshi Das, who is working with Joerg Appenzeller, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and scientific director of nanoelectronics at Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center.
The ferroelectric transistor's changing polarity is read as 0 or 1, an operation needed for digital circuits to store information in binary code consisting of sequences of ones and zeroes.
The new technology is called FeTRAM, for ferroelectric transistor random access memory.
"We've developed the theory and done the experiment and also showed how it works in a circuit," he said.
Findings are detailed in a research paper that appeared this month in Nano Letters, published by the American Chemical Society.
The FeTRAM technology has nonvolatile storage, meaning it stays in memory after the computer is turned off. The devices have the potential to use 99 percent less energy than flash memory, a non-volatile computer storage chip and the predominant form of memory in the commercial market.
"However, our present device consumes more power because it is still not properly scaled," Das said. "For future generations of FeTRAM technologies one of the main objectives will be to reduce the power dissipation. They might also be much faster than another form of computer memory called SRAM."
The FeTRAM technology fulfills the three basic functions of computer memory: to write information, read the information and hold it for a long period of time.
"You want to hold memory as long as possible, 10 to 20 years, and you should be able to read and write as many times as possible," Das said. "It should also be low power to keep your laptop from getting too hot. And it needs to scale, meaning you can pack many devices into a very small area. The use of silicon nanowires along with this ferroelectric polymer has been motivated by these requirements."
The new technology also is compatible with industry manufacturing processes for complementary metal oxide semiconductors, or CMOS, used to produce computer chips. It has the potential to replace conventional memory systems.
A patent application has been filed for the concept.
The FeTRAMs are similar to state-of-the-art ferroelectric random access memories, FeRAMs, which are in commercial use but represent a relatively small part of the overall semiconductor market. Both use ferroelectric material to store information in a nonvolatile fashion, but unlike FeRAMS, the new technology allows for nondestructive readout, meaning information can be read without losing it.
This nondestructive readout is possible by storing information using a ferroelectric transistor instead of a capacitor, which is used in conventional FeRAMs.
This work was supported by the Nanotechnology Research Initiative (NRI) through Purdue's Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN), which is supported by National Science Foundation.
Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, email@example.com
Sources: Saptarshi Das, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joerg Appenzeller, 765 494-1076, email@example.com
Note to Journalists: An electronic copy of the research paper is available from Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
05.12.2016 | University of Sussex
UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering