New technique promises 10 times more computer memory

February 24th, 2009 - 5:51 pm ICT by ANI  

University of Massachusetts

Washington, Feb 24 (ANI): Researchers have tested a new method for producing super dense, defect-free, thin polymer films, which may dramatically improve microelectronic storage capabilities such as those in computer memory sticks, generating up to 10 times more storage space.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and their colleagues at the University of California Berkeley designed the method.

They report how how they designed a new way to guide the self-assembly of the material used to store computer memory, layered block copolymers, and generate up to 10 times more storage space than similarly sized copolymers.

According to the researchers, they developed a defect-free method that can generate more than 10-terabit-per-square-inch copolymer where other efforts achieved at most one terabit per square inch.

A terabit is an information storage unit equal to one trillion bits.

We can generate nearly perfect arrays over macroscopic surfaces where the density is over 15 times higher than anything achieved before, said Thomas Russell, director of the UMass Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

He co-led the research with Ting Xu, a member of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Berkeley.

We applied a simple concept to solve several problems at once, and it really worked out, Russell said.

The concept involved stacking atoms more closely together than previously thought possible to produce the highest density copolymer ever achieved, one capable of storing more information than previous copolymers.

The result enabled researchers to produce more densely packed troughs, which is where computer memory is stored.

I expect this new method of producing highly ordered macroscopic arrays of nanoscopic elements will revolutionize the microelectronic and storage industries and perhaps others, said Russell.

This research by the teams at UMass Amerherst and Berkeley represents a significant breakthrough in the use of polymer self-assembly to create a high density of addressable locations in a thin film, said NSF program manager William J. Brittain.

Most significantly, the simple crystalline lattice used as the template may serve as a revolutionary step for a new generation of computer memory, he added. (ANI)

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