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Old 11-18-2003, 10:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I didn't know where else to put this, but take a look anyways


Plastics are about to revolutionize memory chips

A new memory technology promises to store more data at less cost than the expensive to build silicon chips used by popular consumer gadgets including digital cameras, cellphones and portable music players.

The magical ingredient isn't smaller transistors or an exotic material cooked up by the semiconductor industry. It's a plastic.

Researchers at Princeton University and Hewlett-Packard Co.s HP Labs developed the memory, technically a hybrid that contains a plastic film, a flexible foil substrate and some silicon. The findings appear in the journal Nature.

Unlike flash memory found in consumer devices, the new technology can be written to only once, though it can be read many times. It acts in that respect like a non rewritable compact disc.

But the new memory, which retains data even when theres no power, wont require a power-hungry laser or motor to read or write, and promises more capacity.

"For music or photographs, it's actually an advantage to have something you can't rewrite," said Warren Jackson, one of the paper's co-authors and scientist at HP Labs. "Even in accounting, it would be quite useful if you have a trail of files that you can't erase.

The goal is to make the technology-fast enough to store video. It could also become one of those items people need to keep buying because, once they fill up a card, they'll need more.

Because production would be simpler, costs for consumers should be lower on a per-megabyte basis than today's flash memory, researchers said. Yet it has the potential to store considerably more data.

"We're looking at a different way of manufacturing that we think will eliminate clean rooms and be a lot less expensive in the end," said Craig Perlov, an HP Labs scientist and another co-author of the research paper.

The new memory, which could end up in a small format similar to CompactFlash or SD Cards, doesn't use transistors to store information. Instead, bits are written when a strong current passes through a polymer fuse, causing it to blow and change its conductivity. Smaller currents determine what junctions are opened or closed, which translates into the digital world'd 1's and 0's, to retrieve the contents.

Because manufacturing wouldn't require vacuum chambers or high temperatures, layers could be staked atop each other, like a layer cake. Such staking has yet to be attempted.

Most importantly, it's not on a crystalline substrate so that we can stack these memories very tightly. We can use three dimensions to create the memory.

Other companies are pursuing polymer-based memory. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. recently bought the startup Coatue, which is working on a reprogrammable memory. Intel Corp also has a program to develop ferro-electric polymer memory.

New memory has become a hot topic of research since current flash memory is expected to run into trouble in coming years. As the dimensions get smaller, the transistors leak more electricity and require more power to operate.

I got that info from a local newspaper. Sounds pretty cool though

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Old 11-18-2003, 11:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, read a similar article in PC World about 7 months ago...
Very interesting..


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Old 11-19-2003, 04:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Reading's so tired (too long) but it's very interesting.
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sorry I bumped this up, since it is a 2 year old thread, but it is a little bit interesting. It may be old nwes, but i havent heard anything about it. Anyone know if this ever took off?
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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locked tut, tut, tut, rezerecting old threads. Anyway, I would like to see if they have come up with anything.

I read about this before. I don't think it would be good, as it would mean that it can replace disks, which get scratched very easily.

I don't see it being used for much else, as MP3 players are better for music.


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