Sharp licenses new memory technology

A breakthrough in the approach to non-volatile memory might just mean the end of that painful task: rebooting and recuperating after a system crash.

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By  Kate Concannon Published  April 17, 2002

Research and development conducted at the University of Houston has yielded results that could mean the end of the time consuming and frequently annoying task of rebooting your PC. Sharp Corporation has licensed this breakthrough in computer memory development.

Alex Ignatiev, from the University of Houston, explained: “it is a constant, permanent memory we’ve developed, and it’s all electronic, with no mechanical parts like those used in hard drives to read and store data.”

Thus “when the power is turned off, all of the information on the computer remains so that users do not lose whatever has not been saved when the computer reboots during a restart.”

According to Ignatiev, the new technology is about 1,000 times faster than flash, and programs will also be able to continue from where they were when interrupted.

The technology could also signal a drop in hardware costs, allowing manufacturers to replace current standard RAM and hard drives with a single, non-moving part.

The technology involves thin film memory elements, called manganites, made from the calcium-titanium-oxide, perovskite. Unique resistive properties mean they can be electrically programmed to change their resistance to the passage of electricity. Those differences can then be used to hold digital code.

Lower power consumption, low voltage and high speed make this memory highly suitable for broadband Internet connections, and we can expect to see it popping up in all manner of memory-enabled devices in around three years.

According to Sheng T. Hsu, director of integrated circuits technology at Sharp Laboratories of America, explained: “it can be used in PCs, cell phones, networks — anything that needs massive memory.”

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