Electronic Design

The Future Of Data Storage: Plastic

The next generation of memory storage is almost here—and it's smaller, simpler, and made from common plastic. Using a polymer material known as PEDOT, which is clear and conducts electricity, engineers at Princeton University and Hewlett-Packard developed a combination of materials that could yield a single-use memory card for permanently storing data.

This card would be smaller, faster, and easier to use than a compact disc because it doesn't require moving parts like a laser or CD motor drive. It would include a grid of circuits whose connections all contain a PEDOT fuse. Applying high voltage to specific contact points would blow particular fuses and leave a mix of working and nonworking circuits. These open and closed connections would become permanently encoded on the device, acting as ones and zeroes.

Based on early tests, 1 million bits of information could fit in a square millimeter of paper-thin material. A cubic centimeter would hold more than 1 Gbyte of data, or about 1000 high-quality images. Such a device would act like a conventional memory chip—it plugs directly into an electronic circuit, and there are no moving parts.

For more, go to www.princeton.edu.

TAGS: Components
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