- A new memory device developed by USC Viterbi School of Engineering promises reduced data corruption and has ability to retain data even after power is disconnected
- The memory device comprises of asymmetric metal and semi-metallic graphene materials
Memory devices come in many forms – from USB sticks to external hard-drives to semiconductor chips in our smartphones. The better the materials and their design, the better the memory device is. Now, researchers at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering have created a memory device with improved material and structure that promises to increase data upload speed, extend smartphone battery life and reduce data corruption.
This new memory device belongs to a family known as non-volatile memory devices, meaning they can be unplugged and still retain their data, much like cell phone memory and USB flash drives. Unlike current FTJ devices, the memory device comprises of asymmetric metal and semi-metallic graphene materials. By taking these materials and building them into a novel structure, the performance of all previously demonstrated FTJs was exceeded while offering prospects for integration with silicon electronics.
Furthermore, the unique ability of these materials to approach atomic-scale thickness can eventually lead to even faster and more energy-efficient FTJ memory. “These materials allow us to build devices that can potentially be scaled to atomic-scale thickness,” said Han Wang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering. “This means the voltage required to read, write, and erase data can be drastically reduced which in turn can make the memory electronics much more energy efficient.”
Wang and his fellow researchers hope that with time, their device can be scaled up and may become a replacement not just for the non-volatile memory that we see in cell phones and USB sticks, but also volatile memory like D-RAM storage devices commonly found in computers. In addition, the device may also be engineered to hold multi-bit data states within a single cell and with its robust endurance and retention, it has promising potential for applications in in-memory computing and other computing hardware.