Generally speaking, electronics and water don’t mix well. But a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and Harvard University has proposed a new and surprisingly effective means of stabilizing and controlling ferroelectricity in nanostructures. By using water to terminate the nanostructures’ surfaces, the researchers believe that ferroelectric nanostructures can be tamed to create extremely dense memory devices.
According to Jonathan Spanier, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Drexel, he and his colleagues have successfully demonstrated the benefits of using water to stabilize memory bits in segments of oxide nanowires that are only about 3 billionths of a meter wide. Though a scheme for the dense arrangement and addressing of these nanowires remains to be developed, such an approach would enable a storage density of more than 100,000 Tbits per cubic centimeter. If this memory density can be realized commercially, a device the size of an iPod nano could hold enough MP3 music to play for 300,000 years without repeating a song or enough DVD quality video to play movies for 10,000 years without repetition.
University of Pennsylvania