New design extends battery life in e-devices

March 11th, 2011 - 3:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 11 (IANS) An ultra-low-power digital memory, that is not only faster but uses 100 times less energy than similar devices, could give future devices much longer battery life.

“I think anyone who is dealing with a lot of chargers and plugging things every night can relate to wanting a cell phone or a laptop whose batteries can last for weeks or months,” said University of Illinois professor Eric Pop, who led a study team on the subject.

The flash memory used in mobile devices today stores bits as charge, which requires high programming voltages and is relatively slow, reports the journal Science.

Pop’s group lowered the power per bit to 100 times less than existing PCM memory by focusing on one simple, yet key factor: size. Rather than the metal wires standard in industry, the group used carbon nanotubes, tiny tubes 10,000 times tinier than a human hair, according to an Illinois statement.

“The energy consumption is essentially scaled with the volume of the memory bit,” said graduate student Feng Xiong, study co-author. “By using nanoscale contacts, we are able to achieve much smaller power consumption.”

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