Researchers at IBM Zurich believe they have overcome some of the key challenges that have stood in the way of building memory technology using carbon.
Carbon-based electronics have been researched since the end of the 20th century, but two major problems have persisted: making the material temperature-resistant enough to survive the manufacturing and read/write processes, and making it pliable enough to quickly change states but also stable enough to act as non-volatile memory when necessary.
The IBM researchers' solution is to add oxygen.
IBM's Abu Sebastian says the new technology, dubbed oxygen-amorphous memory by IBM, is a form of resistive memory, which works by measuring electrical resistance across a circuit, rather than toggling a circuit on and off. Resistive memory can be many times faster and permit many times more read/write cycles than flash and random-access memory, in addition to supporting greater circuit density.
Sebastian says it will take some years before IBM's new memory will be commercially viable, and will likely see its first uses in high-end applications. He says finding ways to manufacture the new memory at a large scale while keeping it affordable will be the next major challenge.
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