Personal computers have come a long way since the time of their invention. From occupying larger rooms to sitting at a corner of our table, the technology behind Personal Computers is something to covet for. Not only have we moved on to more portable devices, like smartphones, but we’re also seeing everyday items, like mirrors, wristbands, and even smart bandages turning into smart technology.
According to a new study conducted by a research team at Stanford University, we got to see the idea of bendable memory that can serve as storage for flexible electronics. The report claims that this new technique will allow the manufacturing of memory devices in a flexible substrate.
The manufactured test device was also able to be wrapped around a metal pin with an 8mm diameter and still work. This didn’t result in any decrease in performance even after 200 bending and straightening cycles, and the stored information was easily readable up to 1,000 times before any sort of deterioration was seen.
In their crazy attempt at developing storage options in a more flexible medium, the researchers explored phase-change memory (PCM). This pursuit of adding flexibility to electronics has been done mostly through the usage of plastic-based components (polymers), as they possess the characteristics required not to crack under pressure.
The latest research report indicates that plastic may be one of the most important enablers for PCM research in general because it can serve as an insulator.
“Phase change materials leverage changes in structure into differences in electrical resistance that are attractive for computer memory and processing applications. As such, they created a PCM device that is flexible by using layers of antimony telluride and germanium telluride deposited directly on a flexible polyimide substrate. The device shows multilevel operation with a low switching current density. The combination of phase change and mechanical properties is attractive for a large number of emerging applications for flexible electronics.”
To get the stored value we only need to send a tiny amount of electricity through it and calculate the resistance. One benefit of PCM is that the states are typically coherent meaning that they don’t change by themselves, making it a more persistent memory system.
The research team found that plastic is truly revolutionary equipment as it makes the memory semiconductor flexible enough to be bendable, it also lowered the energy requirements for writing information to memory. The researchers quote their PCM design’s power requirements as being 100 times lower than current ones fabricated on a silicon substrate.