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Bendable Memory Made from Nanowire Transistors

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Memory flexing

Nanowire transistors that switch between four different conductance states can be made on plastic substrates.

Junginn Sohn, Cambridge Nanoscience Center

Researchers in the U.K. have made a new kind of nanoscale memory component that could someday be used to pack more data into gadgets. The device stores bits of information using the conductance of nanoscale transistors made from zinc oxide.

The researchers published a paper about a prototype memory device fabricated on a rigid silicon substrate last week in the online version of the journal Nano Letters. They are now testing flexible memory devices in the laboratory, says Junginn Sohn, a researcher at the University of Cambridge Nanoscience Center and lead author of the Nano Letters paper.

The nanowire device stores data electrically and is nonvolatile, meaning it retains data when the power is turned off, like the silicon-based flash memory found in smart phones and memory cards. The new memory cannot hold data for as long as flash, and it is slower and has fewer rewrite cycles, but it could potentially be made smaller and packed together more densely. And its main advantage, says Sohn, is that it is made using simple processes at room temperature, which means it can be deposited on top of flexible plastic materials. Nanowire memory could, for instance, be built into a flexible display and could be packed into smaller spaces inside cell phones, MP3 players, plastic RFID tags, and credit cards.

From Technology Review
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