Smart card material to help computers switch on instantly

April 18th, 2009 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 18 (IANS) Ultra-thin ferro-electric materials used in smart cards will soon make computers more efficient by enabling them to switch on instantly.
Smart cards rely on ferro-electric materials to instantly reveal and update stored information. For example, in ATMs. A computer with this capability could instantly provide information and other data to the user.

Researchers led by Darrell Schlom at Cornell University took strontium titanate and deposited it on silicon, the main component of most semiconductors. Schlom and his team then integrated circuits in such a way that the silicon squeezed it into a ferro-electric state.

For computer users, it could mean no more waiting for the operating system to come online or to access memory slowly from the hard drive.

“Several hybrid transistors have been proposed specifically with ferroelectrics in mind,” said Schlom. “By creating a ferroelectric directly on silicon, we are bringing this possibility closer to realization.”

More research is needed to achieve a ferroelectric transistor that would make “instant on” computing a reality. An important step, however, is to have the materials in direct contact, free of intervening reaction layers said a Cornell release.

These findings were published in Science.

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