Memory for Mobile Computing Devices

August 19th, 2013 by

A California startup company, based on technology from a university in Michigan, is working to commercialize a new memory chip that could increase the speed and storage available on mobile computing devices. Crossbar memory can store data about 40 times as densely as most compact memory currently used. According to the researchers, Crossbar memory will be much denser and faster than flash memory because it is not based on moving electrons or on transistors. The memory uses a nanoscale structure for data storage. Two layers rod-like electrodes are stacked on top of another, with the rods of the top layer oriented at 90 degrees to those of the layer below to form a grid. Bits of data are stored at each of the junctions, where electrodes from the different layers cross, using an amorphous silicon spacer. Bits are stored when this spacer flips between an insulator and conductor, which either blocks or allows current to pass between layers of electrodes. The company says that the current version of the technology can store one terabyte of data on a single chip 200 square millimeters. For comparison, the densest flash memory chips on the market today store 16 gigabytes on a single chip. The smallest chips, introduced by Micron in May, are 144 square millimeters.