Scientists at Konkuk University, Seoul National University and the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry have developed an energy-efficient device capable of storing the memory needed for smart phones, mp3 players and digital cameras. The new device rethinks the way memory is currently used by introducing a self-propelled floating cantilever which reacts to electrical currents within the device to convert this electrical information into binary code. The floating cantilever not only works much more quickly than current electronically powered conversion devices, but with less energy than conventional devices. The new development promises more efficient and faster gadgets in the future.

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Current memory devices — NAND- and NOR-type flash memories — are widely used because of their ease of manufacturing and advanced technology. Other attempts at carbon nanotube (CNT) field-effect transistors have been successful but result in low operation speed and short retention times. This recent study built upon that CNT research and added the moving cantilever to improve upon the problems previously encountered.

“This is a novel approach to 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,” said Eleanor Campbell of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry, a professor that worked on the study.

The researchers meant to tackle the high-energy problem of storing energy in small devices. Device memory has existed as an electrical current that needs to be converted and stored as binary code, but the new moving cantilever technology is reactive to that electrical current, pulling nearer or farther depending on its frequency and intensity. These movements are converted into binary code, which is then stored. Because the cantilever is actually powered by the electrical current, it greatly reduces the amount of power needed to run the device.

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Via Science Daily