Published in News

New Silicon Oxide Material Found That Uses 1/1000th the Energy To Achive 100x The Performance

by on20 May 2012 2110 times

MR01With the issues that popped up over heat in Ivy Bridge we started to dig deeper into the limitations of the materials currently used. We have been following the progress of Graphene, Carbon Nanotubes, and are even on the lookout for other materials that might be used either alongside these more advanced options or perhaps even in combination (like Graphene and Nanotubes can be). Today we stumbled on an interesting article that covers a new material while also covering a new technology.

The technology in question is Resistive RAM (ReRAM). This is memory that uses materials that change electrical resistance as voltage is applied. ReRAM also has the ability (again through its material) to remember the charge when turned off. Now the benefit of ReRAM is that it is roughly 100 times faster than current flash memory technology (NAND) and that it requires around 1/1000th of the energy to operate.  To achieve this the researchers involved in the project (UCL or University College London) developed a new silicon oxide material that when properly formed develops filaments that represent the change from one state to another. The new material can also work outside of a vacuum which will make it less expensive to manufacture.

Now it is this material that is of the most importance (although 100x faster memory modules in our flash devices is a very cool thought). According to some of the information in the research paper this material can also be used in CPUs and GPUs. What the team discovered was that the new Oxide can be programed to cycle between two (or more) states. This gives it quite a bit of flexibility for its application. The team has even looked into using transparent forms of this material for application in new porducts (think Minority Report).

Another application for this material (because of the way that it can remember the last charge applied when powered off) is as a memristor. According to researchers this will allow the devices to mimic how neurons in the brain work.

No matter how you look at this the development of both ReRAM and the material to support it is an important step forward in computing technology. We are now seeing that there are potentially more materials than just Graphene and Nanotubes for use in advancing the performance and efficiency of the pieces and parts that make up the computers we use in everyday life. We will continue to keep our eye open for new information on all of these materials and of course dig for new items as well.
Journal of Applied Physics Paper

Discuss this in our Forum

Last modified on 20 May 2012
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.