Sunday, 10 June 2012

Researchers use diamonds to boost computer memory

Johns Hopkins University engineers are using diamonds to change the properties of an alloy used in phase-change memory, a change that could lead to the development higher capacity storage systems that retain data more quickly and last longer than current media.

The process, explained this month in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), focused on changes to the inexpensive GST phase-change memory alloy that's composed of germanium, antimony and tellurium.

"This phase-change memory is more stable than the material used in current flash drives. It works 100 times faster and is rewritable about 100,000 times," said the study's lead author, Ming Xu, a doctoral student at the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

"Within about five years, it could also be used to replace hard drives in computers and give them more memory," he suggested.

GST has been in use for two decades and today is widely used in rewritable optical media, including CD-RW and DVD-RW discs.

IBM and others are already developing solid-state chip technology using phase-change memory, which IBM says can sustain up to 5 million write cycles. High-end NAND flash memory systems used today can sustain only about 100,000 write cycles.

watch this space....

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