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New electronic alloy could help usher era of smaller, faster memory chips

Washington, Sept. 14 : Scientists have developed a new environmentally-friendly electronic alloy that consists of 50 aluminium atoms bound to 50 atoms of antimony, which they claim could be the data-storage technology of the future.


Phase-change memory is being actively pursued as an alternative to the flash memory, as flash memory is limited in its storage density and phase-change memory can operate much faster.

A phase-change memory device can be of a size less than 10 nanometers -- allowing more memory to be squeezed into tinier spaces.

Xilin Zhou of the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that so far, the most popular material for phase-change memory devices contains germanium, antimony, and tellurium but compounds with three elements are more difficult to work with.

Zhou and his colleagues studied the material's phase-changing properties, finding that it's more thermally stable than the Ge-Sb-Te compound.

They discovered that Al50Sb50, in particular, has three distinct levels of resistance - and thus the ability to store three bits of data in a single memory cell, instead of just two. This suggests that this material can be used for multilevel data storage.

The study has been published in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

--ANI (Posted on 14-09-2013)

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