Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Data storage: A fast and loose approach improves memory

21.12.2012
An unconventional design for a nanoscale memory device uses a freely moving mechanical shuttle to improve performance

A loose and rattling part in your cell phone is generally a cause for concern. Like most other electronic devices, your phone works by moving electrons through fixed circuit pathways. If electrons are not sufficiently contained within these pathways, the efficiency and speed of a device decrease.

However, as the miniature components inside electronic devices shrink with each generation, electrons become harder to contain. Now, a research team led by Vincent Pott at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics, Singapore, has designed a memory device using a loose and moving part that actually enhances performance1.

The loose part is a tiny metal disk, or shuttle, about 300 nanometers thick and 2 micrometers long, and lies inside a roughly cylindrical metal cage. Because the shuttle is so small, gravity has little effect on it. Instead, the forces of adhesion between the shuttle and its metal cage determine its position. When stuck to the top of its cage, the shuttle completes an electrical circuit between two electrodes, causing current to flow. When it is at the bottom of the cage, the circuit is broken and no current flows. The shuttle can be moved from top to bottom by applying a voltage to a third electrode, known as a gate, underneath the cage.

Pott and co-workers suggested using this binary positioning to encode digital information. They predicted that the forces of adhesion would keep the shuttle in place even when the power is off, allowing the memory device to retain information for long periods of time. In fact, the researchers found that high temperature — one of the classic causes of electronic memory loss — should actually increase the duration of data retention by softening the metal that makes up the shuttle memory's disk and cage, thereby strengthening adhesion. The ability to operate in hot environments is a key requirement for military and aerospace applications.

The untethered shuttle also takes up less area than other designs and is not expected to suffer from mechanical fatigue because it avoids the use of components that need to bend or flex — such as the cantilevers used in competing mechanical memory approaches. In a simulation, Pott and co-workers found that the shuttle memory should be able to switch at speeds in excess of 1 megahertz.

The next steps, the researchers say, include designing arrays of the devices and analyzing fabrication parameters in detail. If all goes well, their novel device could compete head-to-head with the industry-standard FLASH memory.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Microelectronics

Pott, V., Li, C. G., Vaddi, R., Tsai, J. M.-L. & Kim, T. T. The shuttle nanoelectromechanical nonvolatile memory. IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices 59, 1137–1143 (2012).

A*STAR Research | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.a-star.edu.sg
http://www.researchsea.com
http://www.researchsea.com/html/article.php/eml/1/aid/7541/cid/1

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Deep Learning predicts hematopoietic stem cell development
21.02.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone
16.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>