Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Visionary transparent memory a step closer to reality: Rice University making reliable 3-D memories from silicon oxide and graphene

Using graphene as crossbar terminals, Rice University researchers are following through on groundbreaking research that shows silicon oxide, one of the most common materials on Earth, can be used as a reliable computer memory. The memories are flexible, transparent and can be built in 3-D configurations. (Credit: Jun Yao/Rice University)
Using graphene as crossbar terminals, Rice University researchers are following through on groundbreaking research that shows silicon oxide, one of the most common materials on Earth, can be used as a reliable computer memory. The memories are flexible, transparent and can be built in 3-D configurations.

(Credit: Jun Yao/Rice University)

Abstract:
Researchers at Rice University are designing transparent, two-terminal, three-dimensional computer memories on flexible sheets that show promise for electronics and sophisticated heads-up displays.

Visionary transparent memory a step closer to reality: Rice University making reliable 3-D memories from silicon oxide and graphene

Houston, TX | Posted on October 2nd, 2012

The technique based on the switching properties of silicon oxide, a breakthrough discovery by Rice in 2008, was reported today in the online journal Nature Communications.

The Rice team led by chemist James Tour and physicist Douglas Natelson is making highly transparent, nonvolatile resistive memory devices based on the revelation that silicon oxide itself can be a switch. A voltage run across a thin sheet of silicon oxide strips oxygen atoms away from a channel 5 nanometers (billionths of a meter) wide, turning it into conductive metallic silicon. With lower voltages, the channel can then be broken and repaired repeatedly, over thousands of cycles.

That channel can be read as a "1" or a "0," which is a switch, the basic unit of computer memories. At 5 nm, it shows promise to extend Moore's Law, which predicted computer circuitry will double in power every two years. Current state-of-the-art electronics are made with 22 nm circuits.

The research by Tour, Rice's T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science; lead author Jun Yao, a former graduate student at Rice and now a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard; Jian Lin, a Rice postdoctoral researcher, and their colleagues details memories that are 95 percent transparent, made of silicon oxide and crossbar graphene terminals on flexible plastic.

The Rice lab is making its devices with a working yield of about 80 percent, "which is pretty good for a non-industrial lab," Tour said. "When you get these ideas into industries' hands, they really sharpen it up from there."

Manufacturers who have been able to fit millions of bits on small devices like flash memories now find themselves bumping against the physical limits of their current architectures, which require three terminals for each bit.

But the Rice unit, requiring only two terminals, makes it far less complicated. It means arrays of two-terminal memories can be stacked in three-dimensional configurations, vastly increasing the amount of information a memory chip might hold. Tour said his lab has also seen promise for making multi-state memories that would further increase their capacity.

Yao's discovery followed work at Rice on graphitic-based memories in which researchers saw strips of graphite on a silicon oxide substrate break and heal when voltage was applied. Yao suspected the underlying silicon oxide was actually responsible, and he struggled to convince his lab colleagues. "Jun quietly continued his work and stacked up evidence, eventually building a working device with no graphite," Tour said. "And still, others said, 'Oh, it was exogenous carbon in the system that did it!' Then he built it with no exposure to carbon on the chip."

Yao's paper detailing the silicon oxide mechanism appeared in Nature's Scientific Reports in January.

His revelation became the basis for the next-generation memories being designed in Tour's lab, where the team is building memories out of silicon oxides sandwiched between graphene - one-atom-thick ribbons of carbon - and attached to plastic sheets. There's not a speck of metal in the entire unit (with the exception of leads attached to the graphene electrodes).

The marriage of silicon and graphene would extend the long-recognized utility of the first and prove once and for all the value of the second, long touted as a wonder material looking for a reason to be, Tour said. He noted the devices not only show potential for radiation-hardened devices - several built at Rice are now being evaluated at the International Space Station - but also withstand heat up to about 700 degrees Celsius. That means they can be mounted directly atop integrated processors with no ill effects.

The lab is also building crossbar memories with embedded diodes to better manipulate control voltages, Tour said. "We've been developing this slowly to understand the fundamental switching mechanisms," he said. "Industries have flown in and looked at it, but we're doing basic science here; we don't package things nice and pretty, so what they see looks rudimentary.

"But this is now transitioning into an applied system that could well be taken up as a future memory system," he said.

Co-authors are Rice graduate students Yanhua Dai, Gedeng Ruan, Zheng Yan, and Lei Li; and Lin Zhong, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. Natelson is a professor of physics and astronomy and of electrical and computer engineering at Rice.

The research was supported by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the Texas Instruments Leadership University Fund, the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office.

####

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for "best value" among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Ruth
713-348-6327


Mike Williams
713-348-6728

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Read the abstract at:

Related News Press

News and information

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. to Exhibit at the SEM Conference: Nanoindentation experts will attend and exhibit their instruments at the Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics in Indianapolis May 25th, 2017

Videos/Movies

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Gas gives laser-induced graphene super properties: Rice University study shows inexpensive material can be superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic May 15th, 2017

Graphene/ Graphite

Three-dimensional graphene: Experiment at BESSY II shows that optical properties are tuneable May 24th, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Gas gives laser-induced graphene super properties: Rice University study shows inexpensive material can be superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic May 15th, 2017

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

New ultrafast flexible and transparent memory devices could herald new era of electronics April 1st, 2017

UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017

Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance: Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs March 10th, 2017

Flexible Electronics

New ultrafast flexible and transparent memory devices could herald new era of electronics April 1st, 2017

Chip Technology

Researchers find new way to control light with electric fields May 25th, 2017

Nanometrics Announces Retirement Plans of CEO Timothy Stultz: Dr. Stultz to Continue as Director May 25th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Chengdu Partner to Expand FD-SOI Ecosystem in China: More than $100M investment to establish a center of excellence for FDXTM FD-SOI design May 23rd, 2017

Plasmon-powered upconversion nanocrystals for enhanced bioimaging and polarized emission: Plasmonic gold nanorods brighten lanthanide-doped upconversion superdots for improved multiphoton bioimaging contrast and enable polarization-selective nonlinear emissions for novel nanoscal May 19th, 2017

Memory Technology

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

New ultrafast flexible and transparent memory devices could herald new era of electronics April 1st, 2017

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

Smart multi-layered magnetic material acts as an electric switch: New study reveals characteristic of islands of magnetic metals between vacuum gaps, displaying tunnelling electric current March 1st, 2017

Discoveries

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Announcements

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project