Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Silicon nanowires upgrade data-storage technology

11.06.2007
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), along with colleagues at George Mason University and Kwangwoon University in Korea, have fabricated a memory device that combines silicon nanowires with a more traditional type of data-storage. Their hybrid structure may be more reliable than other nanowire-based memory devices recently built and more easily integrated into commercial applications.

As reported in a recent paper,* the device is a type of “non-volatile” memory, meaning stored information is not lost when the device is without power. So-called “flash” memory (used in digital camera memory cards, USB memory sticks, etc.) is a well-known example of electronic non-volatile memory. In this new device, nanowires are integrated with a higher-end type of non-volatile memory that is similar to flash, a layered structure known as semiconductor-oxide-nitride-oxide-semiconductor (SONOS) technology. The nanowires are positioned using a hands-off self-alignment technique, which could allow the production cost—and therefore the overall cost—of large-scale viable devices to be lower than flash memory cards, which require more complicated fabrication methods.

The researchers grew the nanowires onto a layered oxide-nitride-oxide substrate. Applying a positive voltage across the wires causes electrons in the wires to tunnel down into the substrate, charging it. A negative voltage causes the electrons to tunnel back up into the wires. This process is the key to the device’s memory function: when fully charged, each nanowire device stores a single bit of information, either a “0” or a “1” depending on the position of the electrons. When no voltage is present, the stored information can be read.

The device combines the excellent electronic properties of nanowires with established technology, and thus has several characteristics that make it very promising for applications in non-volatile memory. For example, it has simple read, write, and erase capabilities. It boasts a large memory window—the voltage range over which it stores information—which indicates good memory retention and a high resistance to disturbances from outside voltages. The device also has a large on/off current ratio, a property that allows the circuit to clearly distinguish between the “0” and “1” states.

Two advantages the NIST design may hold over alternative proposals for nanowire-based memory devices, the researchers say, are better stability at higher temperatures and easier integration into existing chip fabrication technology.

* Q. Li, X. Zhu, H. Xiong, S.-M. Koo, D.E. Ioannou, J. Kopanski, J.S. Suehle and C.A. Richter. Silicon nanowire on oxide/nitride/oxide for memory application. Nanotechnology 18 (2007) 235204.

Michael E. Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
21.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy
21.04.2017 | Stockholm University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>