With increasing number of smart objects ranging from watches to an entire building, there has been a greater need for these devices to store and recover enormous amounts of data at faster rate without consuming excessive power.
Owing to discovery of previously ignored functionality in a material known as molybdenum ditelluride, numerous new memory cells could become a part of computer chip that offer speed as well as energy savings.
The material of two-dimension stacks into various layers to develop a memory cell. A research team at Purdue University collaborated with Theiss Research Inc. to develop such device which is detailed in the online journal Nature Materials. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is also associated with the study.
Chip manufacturing companies have always demanded for enhanced memory technologies to allow a thriving network of smart devices. One of these innovative possibilities would be resistive random access memory (RRAM).
The electric current in RRAM is accelerated via a memory cell composed of stacked materials that alters the resistance, recording data as 0s and 1s in memory. The series of 0s and 1s among memory cells detects data pieces and in order to perform a function, a computer reads these data and eventually store them into memory.
For storing and recovering data around trillions of times, a material would require to be sufficiently strong, though currently used materials are not potentially reliable. Therefore, RRAM is still not available for wide scale use on computer chips.
According to the researchers, molybdenum ditelluride is capable to last through all these cycles. Although they haven’t investigated any system failure due to the new material, it may be more reliable as well as faster than other approaches, owing to the specific switching mechanism.
The new material enables a system to switch between 0 and 1 at a quicker pace, which accelerated the rate of both storing and retrieving data. This is due to application of electric field to the cell where atoms are displaced by a minute distance, leading to states of high and low resistance noted as 0 and 1 respectively, which can happen more quickly than switching in conventional RRAM devices.
As less power is required for changes in the resistive states, a battery could last longer, the researchers said.
Individual memory cell in a computer chip would be located at the intersection of wires, creating an array of memory known as cross-point RRAM.
Now, the research team plans to explore developing a memory cells with stacked material that also incorporates ‘logic‘, another key component of a computer chip responsible for processing data and interconnection of wires that sends electrical signals, using new electronic materials developed at NIST.
Joerg Appenzeller, one of the researchers said that logic and interconnects utilize more power and drain the battery. The 2D architecture provides many advantages such as more functionality within a small space and enhanced communication between memory and logic.
For the new technology, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization has filed two U.S. patent applications.