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Nanotechnology will dramatically increase memory density
Application of nanotechnology can give a new impetus to microelectronics. University of Pennsylvania researchers are conducting research aimed at significantly increasing memory density through the use of nanostructures.
Memory density is already growing rapidly with decreasing technological process standards, but the Pennsylvania development is based on a fundamentally new approach – storing in a memory cell not one of two, but one of three possible values. The cell resembles a piece of microscopic coaxial cable. Inside the germanium telluride (GeTe) shell is a core made of a more complex compound – Ge2Sb2Te5 (marked with an arrow in the illustration).
Both of these materials can change their phase state under the action of an electric field, passing from a crystalline form to an amorphous form and vice versa. The key point that allows storing three values in one cell is the ability to independently change the phase state of the shell and core.
Attractive from the point of view of mass production is the fact that the cell structure belongs to the so-called “self-assemblies” – nanostructures formed independently, and an additional advantage of crystalline materials is their tendency to form defect-free formations.