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‘Wonder Material’ Graphene Tapped For Electronic Memory Devices

July 30, 2011

Hailed as the new “wonder material,” graphene is being tapped by an international research team to help overcome issues associated with increasing the storage density and speed of electronic memory devices.

Electronic memory devices, which store information, are increasingly expected to provide not only greater storage density, but also faster access to information. As storage density increases, however, power consumption and unwanted heat generation also increase, and the fidelity of accessing the memory is frequently diminished. Various platforms exist to overcome these hurdles, according to a team led by University of California at Los Angeles researchers, which they describe in detail in the AIP’s Applied Physics Letters. A spin-transfer-torque device, for example, relies on a clever technique for storing and accessing information in a magnetic dipole moment, which is similar to a hard drive. Information can be stored in a ferroelectric material in the form of an electric dipole moment in a class of devices known as “ferroelectric-field-effect-transistors” or more commonly as FFETs. For this research, graphene is used to write and read the electric dipole moments of an underlying ferroelectric material. And the very good news, the researchers report, is that this graphene-FFET has a high fidelity and low operating voltage. Future work will focus on improving the speed of the device’s performance.

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