Silicon based memory a thing of the past?
Date 13-May-2003 14:55:04
|New types of computer memory using carbon - rather than silicon - offer the potential to create ultra-fast non-volatile memory. |
High performance non-volatile memory (NRAM) is important for the computer industry because it opens up the possibility of computers booting up without a tedious wait.
The technology also has applications in everything from flash memory to MP3 players and digital cameras.
A number of approaches to the problem have been suggested. Magnetic RAM, backed by IBM and Motorola, polymers and metal alloys (chalcogenides which change shape when electrically charged) have all been suggested.
The Economist reports on a new entrant to the field.
Massachusetts-based firm Nantero is backing the idea of using nanotubes, a cylindrical array of carbon atoms whose diameter is only about one nanometre (a billionth of a metre), as the building blocks of computer memory.
Nantero's design for NRAM "involves the use of suspended nanotube junctions as memory bits, with the 'up' position representing the bit zero and the 'down' position representing the bit one", the company explains.
"Bits are switched between states by the application of electrical fields," it adds.
Nantero's fabrication method involves "depositing a very thin layer of nanotubes over a wafer, and then using lithography and etching to remove the elements that are not in the correct position to serve as elements of the array".
The full story can be found here.