Scottish scientists have found novel approach to memory storage design

New technology developed to improve gadget memory storage

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have made a breakthrough in improving memory storage for electronic gadgets.

They have helped to create a device that uses a tiny mechanical arm to translate data into electrical signals, which charges and discharges without having a voltage constantly applied to the device.

This allows faster operation and uses less energy compared with conventional memory storage products on the market.

The new technology records data by measuring the current passing through a carbon nanotube, and the binary value of the data is determined by an electrode that controls the flow of current.

Professor Eleanor Campbell, from the University of Edinburgh's school of chemistry said the Scottish scientists had hit upon "a novel approach" in designing memory storage devices.

"Using a mechanical method combined with the benefits of nanotechnology enables a system with superior speed and energy efficiency compared with existing devices.

"With this device you have much faster switching on and off which you do not have with conventional memory storage devices," she said.

Previous attempts to use carbon nanotube transistors for memory storage hit a stumbling block because they had low operational speed and short memory retention times.

Scientists were able to overcome this by using a mechanical arm to charge the electrode, which operates faster than conventional memory devices.

The project was a joint collaboration between researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the Konkuk University and Seoul National University in south Korea.

Professor Campbell added: "One of the issues with these novel devices is how easy they can be manufactured on an industrial scale, which we are yet to see."

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