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Putting the squeeze on an old material could lead to 'instant on' electronic memory
Date:4/16/2009

thick become ferroelectric when squeezed atom by atom to match the spacing between the atoms of underlying silicon.

"Changing the spacing between atoms by about 1.7 percent drastically alters the properties of strontium titanate and turns it into a material with useful memory properties," said Long-Qing Chen, professor of materials science and engineering at Pennsylvania State University, a member of the research team whose calculations predicted the observed behavior five years ago.

Schlom called the work a good example of "theory-driven research."

"From various predictions, some dating back nearly a decade, we knew exactly what we were after, but it took our team years to achieve and demonstrate the predicted effect," he said.

The researchers described successfully growing the strontium titanate on top of silicon the semiconductor found in virtually all electronic devices using molecular-beam epitaxy, a technique akin to atomic spray painting.

"The technological implications are staggering," said Jeremy Levy, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh, the research team member whose measurements showed the thin strontium titanate layers on silicon to be ferroelectric.


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Contact: Blaine Friedlander
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

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