Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers from Kiel and Bochum develop new information storage device

12.10.2015

Scientists from Kiel University and the Ruhr Universität Bochum (RUB) have developed a new way to store information that uses ions to save data and electrons to read data. This could enable the size of storage cells to be reduced to atomic dimensions. But that is not the only advantage of the new technology, as the researchers reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

"Six plus seven makes three - plus one carried over", calculated Professor Hermann Kohlstedt, Head of the Nanoelectronic group at Kiel University. This describes that storing information in the short or long term is important - even for the simplest calculations. Modern computers use this principle in practically every Bit (unit of measurement for the digital information content) and the almost unbelievable increase in performance over the last decade was based on a very simple rule: faster processors and more storage space.


Caption: Mirko Hansen in the clean room at Kiel's Faculty of Engineering, using a microscope to check the manufactured storage cells.

Photo/Copyright: AG Nanoelectronic

Standard memory devices are based on electrons which are displaced by applying voltage. The development of ever smaller and more energy-efficient storage devices according to this principle, however, is increasingly approaching its limits: because there is not just one storage device in our computers, but several optimised ones, depending on the task. "Moving data between individual storage devices has now begun to take a not inconsiderable amount of time. Put simply: more is moved backwards and forwards than is calculated", said Kohlstedt. That is why industrial companies and research institutes around the world are working on a more efficient, universal storage device that combines the advantages of all storage devices and moves as little data as possible back and forth.

In order to do so, researchers want to move away from charge-based storage and towards the type which is based on electrical resistance. A component just like this has now come from the labs in Kiel and Bochum. It consists of two metallic electrodes that are separated by a so-called solid ion conductor, usually a transition metal oxide. If a voltage is then applied, the ohmic resistance of the storage cell changes. This is caused by oxidation and reduction processes on the electrodes, as well as ions within the layer between being displaced. The advantage is that cells that are constructed in this way are easy to produce and can be reduced to almost the size of atoms.

The scientists achieve a long storage time by setting the ion density in the cells precisely via the voltage applied. "That was a big challenge", said Mirko Hansen, doctoral candidate and lead author of the study from Kohlstedt's team, because electronic and ionic effects needed to be uncoupled in order to manage this. "Electrons are roughly 1000 times lighter than ions and so they move much more easily under the influence of an external voltage. We were able to successfully exploit this, whereby in our component, the ions are immovable for extremely low voltages, while the electrons remain mobile and can be used to read the storage status."

The trick: the researchers built an ion conductor, which was only a few nanometres (a millionth of a millimetre) thin to utilise quantum-mechanical effects for the flow through the storage cells. "The tunnel effect enables us to move electrons through the ultra-thin layer with very little energy", said Martin Ziegler, co-author of the publication from Kiel. To put it clearly, ions are moved within the storage cell at voltages above one volt, and electrons, on the other hand, at voltages far below one volt. This way, ions can be specifically used for storing and electrons specifically for reading data.

The researchers also reported that their research had another very interesting element. The new resistance-based storage devices could even simulate brain structures. Rapid pattern recognition and a low energy consumption in connection with enormous parallel data processing would enable revolutionary computer architectures. "This opens up a massive area for innovations in combination with terms like Industry 4.0, in which autonomous robots work, or cars which drive themselves and are out on our roads", said Professor Hermann Kohlstedt and his colleague from Bochum, Dr Thomas Mussenbrock to describe the research results. They are both working on developing artificial neural networks in the 'FOR 2093' researcher group.

Original publication
M. Hansen, M. Ziegler, L. Kolberg, R. Soni, S. Dirkmann, T. Mussenbrock & H. Kohlstedt. A double barrier memristive device. Published 08 September 2015, Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 13753 (2015). doi:10.1038/srep13753

More information:
www.for2093.uni-kiel.de

Details, which are only a millionth of a millimetre in size: This is what the research focus "Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science – KiNSIS" at Kiel University has been working on. In the nano-cosmos, different laws prevail than in the macroscopic world - those of quantum physics. Through intensive, interdisciplinary cooperation between materials science, chemistry, physics, biology, electrical engineering, computer science, food technology and various branches of medicine, the research focus aims to understand the systems in this dimension and to implement the findings in an application-oriented manner. Molecular machines, innovative sensors, bionic materials, quantum computers, advanced therapies and much more could be the result. More information at www.kinsis.uni-kiel.de

Contact:
Professor Dr Hermann Kohlstedt
Nanoelektronik
Kiel University
Tel.: +49 (0)431 880 6075
E-mail: hko@tf.uni-kiel.de

Mirko Hansen
Nanoelektronik
Kiel University
Tel.: +49 (0)431 880 6079
E-mail: mha@tf.uni-kiel.de

Dr Martin Ziegler
Nanoelektronik
Kiel University
Tel.: +49 (0)431 880 6067
E-mail: maz@tf.uni-kiel.de

Dr. Boris Pawlowski | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Further information:
http://www.uni-kiel.de

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles
23.11.2017 | IMDEA Networks Institute

nachricht NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>