World’s thinnest storage device developed at the University of Texas. The engineers here, have successfully curated the world’s thinnest memory storage device that would revolutionize the electronic world. It would contribute towards making yet tinier, smarter, and quicker chips. The Week reports that the journal “Nature Nanotechnology” has acknowledged the report and published it. Let’s know more about the world’s thinnest storage device.
The electronic chips today are used in a wide range of consumer electronic products. From items of personal usage like smartphones, televisions, or in computers to big data analytics. The area for the use of electronic chips is increasingly widening. And so is the need to make slimmer and slimmer chips. Engineers owe their design of the thinnest memory device to research that happened two years ago. And they further developed the idea into making the world’s thinnest storage device.
The memory effect
The cross-section of the chip is close to a single square nanometer and boasts of its increased storage capabilities. Engineers also learned about the underlying physics of the memory storage capabilities of these chips. It gets even more important to note this as the underlying physics was not very clear until now. Knowing this theory that researchers call the “memory effect” will help unlock further possibilities of producing better-evolved chips.
Deji Akinwande, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University explains it well. He says “When a single additional metal atom goes into that nanoscale hole and fills it, it confers some of its conductivity into the material, and this leads to a change or memory effect.” The accomplishment of the study for the world’s thinnest memory storage device lies in the fact a single atom here takes control of the memory. Deji further hopes that such a device which is more of a memristor would develop devices smaller than the ones existing today. Now, a memristor, in which is a device that has two terminals without having the middle terminal which is a gate. The memristor has electrical components that affect the resistance between the two terminals. Thus engineers utilize this ability to create more compact devices.
The storage device developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory claims to store about 25 terabits per square meter which is 100 times the capacity of the commercial flash memory devices.
Engineers use Molybdenum Disulfide to make the world’s thinnest storage device
Engineers use nanomaterials for the development of such devices and Molybdenum disulfide or the MoS2 is used in this particular device. But any such material with the thinness of a single atom can be studied and put to use for such devices. The intention to keep building thinner and thinner storage devices is to enhance the compactness of the cross-sectional area. This couples with increased capacity and decreased energy requirements of these devices, and works wonders.
While the US Army funded the research for the study and development of such devices, Pani Varanasi is the program manager for the same. He winds up and says “The results obtained in this work pave the way for developing future-generation applications. These are of interest for the Department of Defence, such as ultra-dense storage, neuromorphic computing systems, radio-frequency communication systems and more”.