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Friday, September 17, 2010

New nanostructure invented with potential use for RAM or massive data storage

The brilliant folks down at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory just invented a new way to express the 0 and 1 in binary storage on a nano-scale.  Each node is a nanocrystal alloy made of a metal and semiconductor, specificly germanium tin nanoparticles that have been embedded in silica.  These units are called BEAN's (Binary Eutectic-Alloy Nanostructures) and represent either a 0 or a 1 depending on phase.  In amorphous phase the BEAN's exibit typical conductive behavior, whereas in crystalline phase, they form a Schottky barrier (potential barrier). The BEAN's can be forced into a stable room temperature crystalline form or a stable room temperature amorphous form, through the usage of lasers and electric current.  This phase change can be performed in a matter of nanoseconds, and germanium tin's wonderful stability in both forms at a practical temperature means this development shows a lot of potential for future computers.  Further testing is being done to determine the BEAN's stability over time and over multiple phase changes.  Mind you, this is still the very beginning stage of development. 
New technology for the win!  
For the source article visit
http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2010/09/16/magical-beans/

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