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Home > News > Nanotube memory flashes past silicon

February 5th, 2009

Nanotube memory flashes past silicon

Abstract:
Although carbon nanotubes have long been believed to be perfect for making faster, smaller computer memory prototype devices have so far proved too sluggish for practical use.

Now a new design that is 100,000 times faster than previous efforts has blasted through that barrier, paving the way for nanotube flash memory to be a part of future electronic and computing devices.

The device stores a single digital bit on each nanotube, using a very simple setup.

Each tube is laid flat on a silicon wafer and attached to two electrodes that run an electric current along its length. A third, "gate", electrode is separated from the tiny tube by a thin insulating layer and is used to write the data.

To do this, the gate lets pass a quick burst of electricity which causes a lasting build-up of charge to be created in a layer of insulating material between the electrode and the nanotube.

The charge, signalling a digital 1, can be detected because it alters the current passing between the other two electrodes. Writing a 0 requires sending a second pulse via the gate electrode to wipe out the stored charge.

Source:
newscientist.com

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