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Researchers herald the coming of the 1TB smartphone

Advances in RRAM could mean big storage on the way
Fri Jul 25 2014, 17:20
A picture of an AMD chip in close-up

RESEARCHERS AT RICE UNIVERSITY have discovered a more reliable way to mass produce RAM for mobile devices at higher capacities.

Resistive Random Access Memory (RRAM) has the potential to offer capacities of 1TB in tiny packages, but has been too expensive for consumer use up to now.

At present the largest capacity available for mobile devices comes is a 128GB microSD card brought to market this year by Sandisk.

The research team has discovered a way of producing resistive RAM at room temperature, removing the need for heavily cooled environments. It has also found a way of creating versions that operate at the correct low voltage required for mobile use.

Project leader James Tour said, "This memory is superior to all other two-terminal unipolar resistive memories by almost every metric and because our devices use silicon oxide - the most studied material on Earth - the underlying physics are both well-understood and easy to implement in existing fabrication facilities."

The breakthrough was made possible by the discovery in 2010 of conductive filament pathways in silicon oxide. The abundancy of silicon makes it cheap, but the discovery of pathways marked the first time it had been considered as material for fabricating RAM, rather than chips.

There has to date been no indication of timescale for the implementation of this RRAM, but according to Tour, "This is a major accomplishment, and we've already been approached by companies interested in licensing this new technology."

Still though, it's not time to throw away your microSD card just yet. µ


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