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April 27th, 2006
A team of experimentalists and theorists at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and Harvard University has proposed a new and surprisingly effective means of stabilizing and controlling ferroelectricity in nanostructures: terminating their surfaces with fragments of water. Ferroelectrics are technologically important "smart" materials for many applications because they have local dipoles, which can switch up and down to encode and store information. The team's work is reported in the April issue of Nano Letters.
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 terabits per cubic centimeter.
University of Pennsylvania
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