conducting plastic has been used to create a new memory technology
with the potential to store a megabit of data in a millimeter-square
device - 10 times denser than current magnetic memories. The device
should also be cheap and fast, but cannot be rewritten, so would
only be suitable for permanent storage.
Imagine a scenario
where the memory stored in your digital camera or personal digital
assistant is partially based one of the most flexible materials
made by man: plastic.
HP Labs and Princeton University are excited a new memory technology
that could store more data and cost less than traditional silicon-based
chips for mobile devices such as handheld computers, cell phones
and MP3 players.
But this chip
is different than silicon technologies such as the popular flash
memory, the researchers said, because it's partially made of plastic
in addition to a foil substrate and some silicon. And while flash
memory can be rewritten, the new technology can be written to only
once. But it can be read several times and retains data without
power because it won't require a laser or motor to read or write.
Warren Jackson said simplifying the production of such memory chips
is a key factor because it has the potential to lower the cost of
memory use on a per megabyte basis for customers. However, this
technology could potentially store more data than flash, and perhaps
even become fast enough to store video, he said.
the ability to work for a slightly different market than flash because
we would now have the ability to not be able to write it a bunch
of applications, but just read it so it becomes a permanent record.,"
Jackson told internetnews.com.
Moreover, this could be favorable to companies concerned about compliance
regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley, ensuring that the
integrity of data on documents is preserved over long periods of
time, the scientists said.
research analysts, finding alternative sources of memory has become
a popular research issue because flash memory is expected to reach
serious limitations as the dimension demands on devices increasingly
get smaller to host a variety of form factors. Smaller memory space
means the transistors leak more electricity and suck up more power.
research analyst Richard Gordon said engineering obstacles facing
memory technologies stretch back 30-plus years and noted that just
last week Intel announced a new transistor to take care of the leakage
technology is currently at a process node of the .11 micron level,"
Gordon said "There is a roadmap to accommodate it for the next
10 years so it still has a long time to go before it runs out of
steam. I don't see that changing unless there is a technology in
terms of cost-per-bit and performance that blows flash out of the
the concept of plastic or polymer-based memory is not entirely alien.
Rival chipmakers are also looking into polymer-based memory. Intel
has a program to develop Ferro-electric polymer memory. AMD recently
bought Coatue, one of several companies working on polymer memory,
including Thin Film Electronics. Intel has a stake in this Swedish
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