Storage in today's computers is based on rotating magnetic platters or flash memory. Both of these mediums work well, provide large amounts of storage and have been around for a while now. Some scientists don’t believe that flash is the future for storage in computers and electronic devices. In fact, the future of storage could be based on something kids use every day at school -- pencil lead or graphite.
A team of researchers at Rice University has found a method of creating a new type of memory from a strip of graphite only 10 atoms thick. Graphite is the basic element in the new type of memory. The scientists describe in a paper published in the online journal Nature Materials a storage device that utilizes the conducting properties of graphene. A large clump of graphene is better known as graphite, something school kids doodle with everyday.
Rice professor James Tour says that graphene memory would increase the amount of storage in a two-dimensional array by about five times. He says that this massive improvement is due to the individual bits being able to be made smaller than 10 nanometers. By comparison, circuitry in your average flash memory chip today is 45nm. Another big benefit of graphene memory is that switches can be controlled by two terminals rather than the three terminals used in flash memory today.
The two-terminal capability is important because it provides the capability to make three-dimensional memory practical since the very thin graphene arrays can be stacked, multiplying the storage capacity of the array with each graphene layer.
Storage arrays using graphene will be mechanical devices at their core and as such, the chips will consume very little power. Much lost power in flash storage comes from leakage; graphene memory will need little power leading to less leakage while keeping data intact. Graphene memory has a massive improvement in on-off power ratio compared to current memory technologies.
Tour said in a statement, "It’s (power savings) huge — a million-to-one. Phase change memory, the other thing the industry is considering, runs at 10-to-1. That means the ‘off’ state holds, say, one-tenth the amount of electrical current than the ‘on’ state."
Tour explains that current tends to leak from an off that is holding a charge. He says, "That means in a 10-by-10 grid, 10 ‘offs’ would leak enough to look like they were ‘on.’ With our method, it would take a million ‘offs’ in a line to look like ‘on'. So this is big. It allows us to make a much larger array.”
Another benefit of graphene as a storage medium is that while it puts off little heat, it is able to operate in a very wide temperature range. The researchers have tested the system to minus 75 to over 200 degrees Celsius.
Performance of graphene-based systems is impressive, the researchers say that the new switches are faster than the lab's testing equipment can measure and they promise long life as well. "We’ve tested it in the lab 20,000 times with no degradation,” said Tour. “Its lifetime is going to be huge, much better than flash memory."
The processes uses graphene deposited on silicon via chemical vapor deposition making for easy construction that can be done in commercial volumes with methods already available says Tour.
quote: That means the ‘off’ state holds, say, one-tenth the amount of electrical current than the ‘on’ state.
quote: > "'Holds' is usually used in conjunction with 'charge', not 'current', which creates the confusion."
quote: it's almost impervious to radiation, an essential requirement for laptops in a future world full of Nuclear Reactors.
quote: Other than that I don't see any economically viable long term energy sources other than nuclear unless somebody waves a magic wand and solves the energy storage problem.
quote: Transistors are the basis for electronic switching and memory devices as they exhibit extreme reliabilities with on/off ratios of 10^4–10^5, and billions of these three-terminal devices can be fabricated on single planar substrates. On the other hand, two-terminal devices coupled with a nonlinear current–voltage response can be considered as alternatives provided they have large and reliable on/off ratios and that they can be fabricated on a large scale using conventional or easily accessible methods. Here, we report that two-terminal devices consisting of discontinuous 5–10 nm thin films of graphitic sheets grown by chemical vapour deposition on either nanowires or atop planar silicon oxide exhibit enormous and sharp room-temperature bistable current–voltage behaviour possessing stable, rewritable, non-volatile and non-destructive read memories with on/off ratios of up to 10^7 and switching times of up to 1 microsecond (tested limit). A nanoelectromechanical mechanism is proposed for the unusually pronounced switching behaviour in the devices.
quote: Lastly can the sense amplifier go to such high ratios (10^7); it looks like a signal-to-noise challenge.
quote: Performance of graphene-based systems is impressive, the researchers say that the new switches are faster than the lab's testing equipment can measure and they promise long life as well.
quote: I'll "let them go" when the alternative is more reliable, faster, and cheaper (per GB). I don't have money to burn after all. (Apparently you do...)
quote: What the hell are you talking about?
quote: But in your strange alternate reality, "let them go" seems to mean, "lets keep buying them but research alternatives also".
quote: By the way, you're also wrong about failures. Unless you're doing nothing but reads, hard drives are still more reliable per bit than flash memory.
quote: Show some actual stats or you are pulling it out of your ass.
quote: Let them go means let them go. They are GOing away, that is where you LET THEM GO.
quote: Google "wear levelling" for all the information you need. You can write the same bit to a hard drive hundreds of millions of times. Flash is way behind this. The "Bad Thing" about moving parts is they wear out. But if you're doing heavy writes, flash memory is more of a "moving part" than any hard drive ever thought about. If you're doing almost all reads, or you're in some extreme shock environment, flash is much more reliable, yeah. But conflating "moving parts" with "bad" isn't always true.
quote: Ok I give up. The information content of that statement is zero. Maybe English isn't your native language or something.
quote: Flash is not the only option for this,
quote: He wants to hold onto mechanical hard drives forever cause he understands them better
quote: Its the option you said was "more reliable" than hard drives. I showed you that's not always true.
quote: What he actually said was "I'll stop buying as soon as something better comes along". What was your native language again?
quote: I said solid state, not flash
quote: Please quote where he said that, as I see it nowhere in his post.
quote: Lol, you're pathetic. I said "hard drives are more reliable than flash if you're writing a lot". You accuse me of pulling facts out of my ass, then when you're proven wrong, you pull this? I'd be angry if I wasn't laughing so hard.
quote: Sure. He said, "I'll "let them go" when the alternative is more reliable, faster, and cheaper". See it now? For those of us who actually speak English, that translates to "I'll stop buying when something better comes along".
quote: Show some actual stats or you are pulling it out of your ass.
quote: So Im going to talk to you like my 17 year old son. Dude, your a faqqot. Go kill yourself, nobody likes you.
quote: Why haven't you been?
quote: (graphine (graphite [carbon])) is the most common element there is
quote: Hydrogen is the most abundant element in _the universe_.
quote: ...no clarification needed unless you think in only Earth terms.
quote: Context. Since when did we start making PC components from materials that we gathered while spacewalking? I can probably speak for most of us when I say that Earthlings usually think only in Earth terms when building something. This is an article about storage devices meant to be built on Earth and used on Earth, right?