CANi was also able to overcome the limitations of conventional electronics by using nanoionics, a technique for moving tiny bits of matter around on a chip. Instead moving electrons among charged particles, called ions, as in traditional electronics, nanoionics moves the ions themselves.
Weve actually been able to move something the size of a virus between electrodes to switch them from a high resistance to a low resistance, which is great for memory, Kozicki said.
Most memory today stores information as charge; in the binary language of computers, this means that an abundance of charge at a particular site on a chip translated as a one, and a lack of charge is translated as a zero. The problem with such memory is that the smaller its physical size, the less charge it can reliably store.
Resistance-based memory, on the other hand, does not suffer from this problem and can even store multiple bits on one site. Moreover, once the resistance is set, it does not change, even when the power is switched off.
CANis previous high-performance resistance-change memory has been licensed to three companies, including Micron Technology and Qimonda, and has attracted the attention of Samsung, Sony and IBM. However, it used some materials, specifically silver and germanium sulfide, previously unused by industry and therefore required new processes to be developed.
The real advancement of CANis newest memory is that researchers discovered a way to use materials already common in chip manufacturing. Although doping mixing silicon with small amounts of conductive materials such as boron, arsenic or phosphorus has been common practice for years, copper in silicon dioxide was largely unheard of. In fact, it was strict
|Contact: Skip Derra|
Arizona State University