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A*STAR Singapore - Future of data storage - Good things come in small nano-packages

A*STAR Data Storage Institute - has as many have previously claimed that nano-scale engineering of materials, which arise in two different guises could lead to faster, smaller and more stable electronic data storage.  Worldwide development of a claimed 'universal memory' or more so the perfect electronic memory has long been seen as the holy grail of electronic engineering.

Weijie Wang and her co-workers have demonstrated that nano-scale engineering of a phase-change materials could lead to such a device. The atoms in phase-change materials, such as Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) can arrange themselves into one of two configurations.  

DCN Corp® - Phase change in NGST is faster when the grains are smaller and arranged into tinier cells, owing to an increase in the ratio of surface (blue) to internal (red) grains and the interface between grains.  Credit - © 2012 Nature Publishing GroupThe two 'phases' act as the ones and zeroes for transfer of digital information, and a pulse of electricity can change the material from one to the other.  The easiness by which GST changes phase - it is claimed is both a blessing in disguise and a curse.  Positively it enables for storage of data very quickly, but negatively it is prone to switching phase unannounced, thus, losing valuable data.

It is claimed the new domain of Phase-change Random-access Memory (PC-RAM) is one of the most promising approaches to universal memory research.  Previous research has demonstrated that an addition of Nitrogen (N) to GST - creating N-GST - facilitates a more stable material, but at the same time slowing down the phase-change process.

The work undertaken by Wang and her co-workers illustrated that both high speed and high stability are possible simultaneously, but also experimentally demonstrated that the scope of phase change in N-GST became much faster by scaling down physically.  In addition, the researchers deposited small-grain N-GST into the pores of a thin film of silicon dioxide, and subsequently discovered that phase change in 20 nm structures containing 5 nm grains was as much as 17 times faster than devices created in 200 nm pores.  The apparent increase in speed, is because the mechanism that drives phase change is dramatically smaller grains that are in smaller cells, owing to their higher surface area-to-volume ratio.  Original article available here

DCN Corp believes it may have also contrived a novel 'bottom-up' nano displacement technology enabling for ca. 20-30 nm porosity - something of which could rival A*STAR Data Storage Institute recent findings.  Moving forward - if you or your colleagues are interested in making the above a reality - please ensure to contact the company as soon as practicably possible.