A revolutionary new memory technology suitable for archiving data has been unveiled. The single use memory technology could be used in devices such as camcorders, digital cameras and the like for storing digital images and other information.
Researchers at Princeton University and HP Labs have developed a new electronic memory device, by recognising a previously unknown property of a commonly used conductive polymer plastic coating. The polymer is called PEDOT. The new device uses this in conjunction with thin film silicon based electronics.
The technology used, combines organic and inorganic materials to produce a device that combines the characteristics of a CD and conventional memory chip. It bears similarities to CD’s in that when data is written to it, it undergoes permanent physical change. However, unlike a CD it does not use a laser to write the information. Similarly to a memory chip, it plugs directly into an electronic circuit and has no moving parts.
PEDOT, a known conductive polymer is used in antistatic coatings for photographic film and electrical contacts on video displays. The PEDOT based memory would employ a grid of circuits which all have connections using a PEDOT fuse. Using a high voltage, the fuses could be selectively blown, simulating a zero, whilst functioning fuses represent a 1 for digital data storage.
Findings indicate that 1 million bits if information could be stored in a square millimetre of paper thin material. Similarly, a gigabyte of information could be stored in a 1cm cube.
Commercial availability of the product is still about 5 years away, but the researchers believe it can be made economically viable for single use memory media.
The research findings will be published in the November 13th, edition of the journal ‘Nature’.