Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New 'FeTRAM' is promising computer memory technology

Researchers are developing a new type of computer memory that could be faster than the existing commercial memory and use far less power than flash memory devices.

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,

Sources: Saptarshi Das,

Joerg Appenzeller, 765 494-1076,

Note to Journalists: An electronic copy of the research paper is available from Emil Venere, 765-494-4709,

Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>