Feeds

Boffins: Our memory film is like your girlfriend - transparent and cheap

But also very ... bendy

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Boffins at Rice University have invented flexible see-through resistive memory that can replace flash drives and be attached to car windscreens or device displays.

The memory, described in Nature, is made from a layer of silicon oxide (SiOx) sandwiched between two checkerboard arrays of graphene or indium tin oxide, which form a cross bar array, with electrical circuits existing where the array lines intersect above and below the silicon oxide layer.

Building on earlier work Rice chemist James Tour and his research boffins found that when a high voltage is put across the silicon oxide, the oxygen atoms are stripped out of a channel 5nm wide between the the two terminals used in the circuit leaving pure silicon behind. Applying a weaker voltage reinstates the silicon oxide. The two silicon and silicon oxide states provide different resistance levels and there we have binary one and zero. The effect can be repeated thousands of times.

Rice silicon oxide memory

Rice University silicon oxide memory graphic

NAND memory needs three terminals for the setting and reading of bit values. Rice's graphene silicon oxide memory only needs two, making it simpler to manufacturer, say the boffins. They get an 80 per cent yield from their manufacturing process in the Rice lab fab and expect industrial scale manufacturing to improve on this.

As the scientific paper's abtract says; "[This] two-terminal, nonvolatile resistive memory can also be configured in crossbar arrays on glass or flexible transparent platforms," making it usable where we peer through glass screens or look at device displays.

The abstract sums up the potential benefits of this technology:

The filamentary conduction in silicon channels generated in situ in the SiOx maintains the current level as the device size decreases, underscoring their potential for high-density memory applications, and as they are two-terminal based, transitions to three-dimensional memory packages are conceivable. As glass is becoming one of the mainstays of building construction materials, and conductive displays are essential in modern handheld devices, to have increased functionality in form-fitting packages is advantageous.

This invention could herald useful technology that could be in products like head-up displays, El Reg guesses, within five years or so. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.