Thursday, March 21, 2013

IBM Discovers Atomic Technique to Charge Memory Chips

Researchers at IBM have discovered a new technique to charge memory chips by manipulating tiny ionic currents.

The discovery could pave the way for a new class of non-volatile memory and logic chips that would use less power than today's silicon based devices.

IBM has demonstrated that it is possible to reversibly transform metal oxides between insulating and conductive states by the insertion and removal of oxygen ions driven by electric fields at oxide-liquid interfaces. The company said its experiments show that the materials maintain a stable metallic state even when power to the device is removed.

"Our ability to understand and control matter at atomic scale dimensions allows us to engineer new materials and devices that operate on entirely different principles than the silicon based information technologies of today," said Dr. Stuart Parkin, an IBM Fellow at IBM Research. "Going beyond today's charge-based devices to those that use miniscule ionic currents to reversibly control the state of matter has the potential for new types of mobile devices. Using these devices and concepts in novel three-dimensional architectures could prevent the information technology industry from hitting a technology brick wall."

IBM's research is published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.