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December 10th, 2007
Taiwanese researchers say they have developed a simple, durable, and potentially inexpensive nonvolatile memory array made from a mix of plastic and gold nanoparticles. The array is a 16-byte device called an organic nonvolatile bistable memory. The researchers, from National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) and the quasi-governmental Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), presented details of the device today in Washington, D.C., at the 2007 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting. The Taiwanese team plans to integrate the memory into smart cards.
Engineers have been pursuing organic nonvolatile memories—devices made from plastic and other carbon-based chemicals—because they can potentially be manufactured cheaply using printing processes. But organic memory devices tend to break down in air and under the stress of many read-write cycles. According to Zingway Pei, one of the gold memory's inventors and an assistant professor of electrical engineering at NCHU, recent measurements suggest that it endures more than 1000 switches and retains its data for roughly 10 days, even when exposed to air. Its stability may quickly improve, says Pei. "Theoretically, the memory's retention time can reach 30 days," he says.
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