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Organic Crystals Promise Low-Power Green Computing

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Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have discovered ferroelectric behavior in crystalline croconic acid, which contains just carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. This crystal could provide a step toward greener electronics.

The Japanese team, led by Sachio Horiuchi, applied an electric field to the crystals at room temperature and found they could reverse its electric polarity, the key for storing computer memory. The researchers noticed a small time lag between removing the field and reversal of the crystal's polarity, which is "a direct indication of the ability to store and switch an electrical polarization," Horiuchi says. The finding suggests croconic acid could be used in organic electronics.

Although there are other organic polymers with ferroelectric properties, experts say that more options are better for the green computing industry. "The availability of more organic ferroelectric systems than the PVDF-like systems is pretty cool, as it opens up more opportunities for all organic devices than had previously been available," says Queen's University Belfast's Marty Gregg.

From New Scientist
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