Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) say they have made a discovery that could lead to smaller, faster, more powerful, and more energy-efficient devices. The discovery revolves around a method to measure the intrinsic conducting properties of ferroelectric materials, which has been considered a promising material for several decades but had not been proven in an experiment.
ORNL researchers Peter Maksymovych, Stephen Jesse, Art Baddorf, and Sergei Kalinin from the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences believe that they have made a breakthrough. "For years, the challenge has been to develop a nanoscale material that can act as a switch to store binary information," Maksymovych says. "Harnessing this functionality will ultimately enable smart and ultra-dense memory technology." The researchers have demonstrated a giant intrinsic electroresistance in conventional ferroelectric films, in which flipping the spontaneous polarization increased conductance by up to 50,000 percent.
Ferroelectric materials can retain their electrostatic polarization and are used for piezoactuators, memory devices, and radio-frequency identification tags. The key distinction of ferroelectric memory switches is that they can be tuned using the thermodynamic properties of ferroelectrics, which can be used to minimize the power needed to record and read information.
From Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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