Plastic Memory - a very cheap digital film!


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Researchers from Princeton University, New Jersey, and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, California, have managed to develop a polymer-based memory unit, which can potentially be turned in to an inexpensive, plastic memory chip, which could store a megabit of data per square millimetre.

The invention is based on a known, conducting polymer called PEDOT, which is already used in anti-static coating of camera film. The researchers noticed, however, that when subject to high currencies, PEDOT turns into an insulator. In essence, when you have a material whose electrical properties can be altered with a current, you have a potential memory chip at hand.

"The beauty of the device is that it combines the best of silicon technology - diodes - with the capability to form a fuse, which does not exist in silicon," says Vladimir Bulovic, who works on organic electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

When PEDOT turns into an insulator, it cannot be turned back to conducting material. That makes it a Write Once, Read Many (WORM) memory. PEDOT memory devices would hence be writeable only once, just like CD-Rs. Polymer based devices are easy and inexpensive to manufacture, so the fact that the memory cannot be re-used, should be irrelevant. A possible application for such a device would be, for example, a "permanent" digital film for digital cameras. Instead of transferring data on your PC and removing them from your camera, you would just swap the memory card to a new, blank one.

Source: New Scientist
 
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