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Rice University makes advancements in transparent memory

Posted: 04 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:silicon oxide? graphene? 22 nm circuits? flexible chips? heads-up displays?

Yao's discovery followed work at Rice on graphitic-based memories in which researchers saw strips of graphite on a silicon oxide substrate break and heal when voltage was applied. Yao suspected the underlying silicon oxide was actually responsible, and he struggled to convince his lab colleagues. "Jun quietly continued his work and stacked up evidence, eventually building a working device with no graphite," Tour said. "And still, others said, 'Oh, it was exogenous carbon in the system that did it!' Then he built it with no exposure to carbon on the chip."

A Mix of silicon and graphene
The marriage of silicon and graphene would extend the long-recognised utility of the first and prove once and for all the value of the second, long touted as a wonder material looking for a reason to be, Tour said. He noted the devices not only show potential for radiation-hardened devices C several built at Rice are now being evaluated at the International Space Station C but also withstand heat up to about 700C. That means they can be mounted directly atop integrated processors with no ill effects.

"But this is now transitioning into an applied system that could well be taken up as a future memory system," he said.

The research was supported by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the Texas Instruments Leadership University Fund, the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office.

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Figure: Using graphene as crossbar terminals, Rice University researchers are following through on groundbreaking research that shows silicon oxide, one of the most common materials on Earth, can be used as a reliable computer memory. The memories are flexible, transparent and can be built in 3-D configurations. (Credit: Jun Yao/Rice University).


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