Manufacturers of smaller and smarter computer chips for consumer electronics such as smartphones and tablets, and 3D chips for brain-inspired computing applications.
The thinnest memory storage device with dense memory capacity was developed using 2D nanomaterials — called “atomristors” — that improve upon memristors, an emerging memory storage technology with lower memory scalability. Atomristors enable the 3D integration of nanoscale memory with nanoscale transistors on the same chip for advanced computing systems. Memory storage and transistors have always been separate components on a microchip, but atomristors combine both functions on a single, more efficient computer system. Using metallic atomic sheets (graphene) as electrodes and semiconducting atomic sheets (molybdenum sulfide) as the active layer, the entire memory cell is a sandwich about 1.5 nanometers thick, which makes it possible to densely pack atomristors layer by layer in a plane. This is a substantial advantage over conventional flash memory, which occupies a much larger space. In addition, the thinness allows for faster and more efficient electric current flow.
University of Texas at Austin, Cockrell School of Engineering, Austin, TX
The memory storage device is ready for commercialization.
The sheer density of memory storage that can be made possible by layering the synthetic atomic sheets onto each other, coupled with integrated transistor design, could result in computers that learn and remember the same way as the human brain. The atomristors also are the smallest radio frequency memory switches to be demonstrated with no DC battery consumption, which can ultimately lead to longer battery life.