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 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 >>>