Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flash Memory That'll Keep on Shrinking

Technology Review (09/02/11) Katherine Bourzac

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Samsung have developed a type of flash memory that uses graphene and silicon to store information. The researchers say that the use of graphene could extend flash's viability far into the future and could lead to portable electronics that can store much more data than today's devices. "We're using graphene to help extend the capabilities of the conventional technology," says IBM Watson Research Center researcher Augustin Hong, who worked on the technology while at UCLA. The graphene flash memory prototypes use less power than conventional flash memory and they can store data more stably over time, even when miniaturized, according to the researchers. Graphene-based flash memory cells perform better due to the material's chemical structure and electrical properties, says UCLA professor Kang Wang, who led the research. Graphene also can hold much more charge than silicon without leaking, which is a common problem with conventional flash systems as the devices get smaller. Although the graphene-based devices have not been reduced to the size of some silicon-based devices, there are no known properties of graphene that would cause the performance to falter as the devices get smaller.
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