A team of researchers at Rice University is working on a new graphene-based memory type, that can make massive amounts of storage available for devices ranging from computers to cell phones and digital cameras.
A team at Rice University has determined that a strip of graphite only 10 atoms thick can serve as the basic element in a new type of memory, making massive amounts of storage available for computers, handheld media players, cell phones and cameras.
In new research available online in Nature Materials, Rice professor James Tour and postdoctoral researchers Yubao Li and Alexander Sinitskii describe a solid-state device that takes advantage of the conducting properties of graphene. Tour said such a device would have many advantages over today’s state-of-the-art flash memory and other new technologies.
Graphene memory would increase the amount of storage in a two-dimensional array by a factor of five, he said, as individual bits could be made smaller than 10 nanometers, compared to the 45-nanometer circuitry in today’s flash memory chips. The new switches can be controlled by two terminals instead of three, as in current chips.
Two-terminal capability makes three-dimensional memory practical as graphene arrays can be stacked, multiplying a chip’s capacity with every layer, said Tour, Rice’s Chao Professor of Chemistry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science.
Being essentially a mechanical device, such chips will consume virtually no power while keeping data intact – much the same way today’s e-book readers keep the image of a page visible even when the power is off.