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Researchers develop plastic memory

Written by Jari Ketola @ 13 Nov 2003 15:30 User comments (15)

Researchers from Princeton University, New Jersey, and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, California, have managed to develop a polymer-based memory unit, which can potentially be turned in to an inexpensive, plastic memory chip, which could store a megabit of data per square millimetre.
The invention is based on a known, conducting polymer called PEDOT, which is already used in anti-static coating of camera film. The researchers noticed, however, that when subject to high currencies, PEDOT turns into an insulator. In essence, when you have a material whose electrical properties can be altered with a current, you have a potential memory chip at hand.

"The beauty of the device is that it combines the best of silicon technology - diodes - with the capability to form a fuse, which does not exist in silicon," says Vladimir Bulovic, who works on organic electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

When PEDOT turns into an insulator, it cannot be turned back to conducting material. That makes it a Write Once, Read Many (WORM) memory. PEDOT memory devices would hence be writeable only once, just like CD-Rs. Polymer based devices are easy and inexpensive to manufacture, so the fact that the memory cannot be re-used, should be irrelevant. A possible application for such a device would be, for example, a "permanent" digital film for digital cameras. Instead of transferring data on your PC and removing them from your camera, you would just swap the memory card to a new, blank one.

Source:
New Scientist

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15 user comments

114.11.2003 4:27

Cool. Is one megabyte/square millimetre all that much though?

214.11.2003 4:46
alxdotnet
Inactive

Yes it is. One Mb/square mm = 1.4GB in about the space of a CD-R. Now imagine the layering possibilies. A memory cartridge similar in size to a VHS tape would have (surface area) * (layers) * 1MB/8 square mm. A VHS is approximately 20cm x 10cm x 2.5 cm, so assuming five layers, the cartridge would hold 12.5 GB. Assuming 10 layers, we get 25GB. This is only new technology, however, and we may see compression as great as 1Mb/10000 square micrometers in which case our little CD-R would hold 140GB!


Comp 1: Dell Inspiron P4 2.4Ghz / 512 MB RAM with 24x CD-RW and Firewire In, SVideo Out running XP Pro
Comp 2: Dell Dimension P3 550Mhz / 384MB RAM with old 2x CD-RW running XP Home.

314.11.2003 6:12

Well if it becomes a cheap memory solution then cool. But other than that a 1.4GB CD-sized solution isnt that magnificent.

414.11.2003 9:48
koola
Inactive

That sound so cool! Just think if they get good compression on that, like alxdotnet said, up to 140GB for the size of a CD-R! Not bad for plastic!


Flash DVD Guides: http://www.simpleguides.tk

514.11.2003 10:23

How fast would it be capable of though?

614.11.2003 14:33
alxdotnet
Inactive

Good question. That would depend on the type of connection, but independent of that it sounds like "burning" itself would be instantaneous. Just read the New Scientist source. If this stuff can be printed, new possibilities arise. A standard book could hold: 8.5in x 11 in x 500 pages x 2 sides/page x 10000sqmm/sqin x 1 Mb/sqmm x 1 MB/8Mb = 377 Terabytes!!! Note that this is assuming the 1 megabit/square millimeter. If as I said in my previous post that they can squeeze this stuff into 1 Mb/10000 micrometer, then our five hundred page book can hold a grand total of 37 Petabytes. This is enough to record every second of your life, your parents life, your siblings life, and their grandkids lives. Think of the possibilites: the entire library of congress in a single book. I don't think any current file system is capable of handling these space requirements. Digital Video Recorder: $700 Trip to Disney World: $1000 Rides At The Park: included Recording every second of the trip on your MasterCard itself: priceless.


Comp 1: Dell Inspiron P4 2.4Ghz / 512 MB RAM with 24x CD-RW and Firewire In, SVideo Out running XP Pro
Comp 2: Dell Dimension P3 550Mhz / 384MB RAM with old 2x CD-RW running XP Home.

714.11.2003 16:11
ZippyG
Inactive

It is not one MEGABYTE, it said MEGABIT per square mm. One megabit is 125,000 bytes, and one square CM of the stuff would hold 12.5 Megabytes. Not exactly mass storage, but decent for novelty items. Current compact flash cards have much higher density than this. ZippyG

815.11.2003 2:59
alxdotnet
Inactive

Quote:
x 1 MB/8Mb
Got that part. Actually you have a good point, for some reason I was using 100u x 1mm for 1 MB. Actual size of book = 215 TB For increased compression, book holds 21.5 PB. Thanks for the correction.
Comp 1: Dell Inspiron P4 2.4Ghz / 512 MB RAM with 24x CD-RW and Firewire In, SVideo Out running XP Pro
Comp 2: Dell Dimension P3 550Mhz / 384MB RAM with old 2x CD-RW running XP Home.

916.11.2003 4:42

Now wait a minute guys... is there really anything to get jumpy about? let's wait and see who get's control of this new memory first, before we get all happy about it. if this new memory is that dense and can store that much info... wouldn't it be true that cd could store "extra bonus software" that as soon as you put the thing into a device connected to your pc that's capable of reading it, self install and send compromising data back to the record company without us even knowing it? just another way for "the man" to know what we do at all times right? then they in turn could be using the new found material to keep logs of everything. am i wrong about this possibility? i hope so.


"Don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes!"

1016.11.2003 4:47
alxdotnet
Inactive

It doesn't say anything about music CDs being made of this memory... And nothing can install on your computer unless you give it permission, or unless they inform you about it beforehand.


Comp 1: Dell Inspiron P4 2.4Ghz / 512 MB RAM with 24x CD-RW and Firewire In, SVideo Out running XP Pro
Comp 2: Dell Dimension P3 550Mhz / 384MB RAM with old 2x CD-RW running XP Home.

1116.11.2003 10:16
ZippyG
Inactive

This memory is not optical, and therefore no current CD or DVD drive would read it. I doubt any optical drive will ever read this memory. Realistic useage would be in combination with OLED displays to make something like greeting cards with audio and video.

1216.11.2003 12:08
alxdotnet
Inactive

Quote:
Realistic useage would be in combination with OLED displays to make something like greeting cards with audio and video.
Exactly. The article says they are working on printing it, which means that they could do exactly that. Of course, if they ever figure out how to rewrite it...it would completely replace hard drives. This technology would also function well within a GameBoy cartridge.
Comp 1: Dell Inspiron P4 2.4Ghz / 512 MB RAM with 24x CD-RW and Firewire In, SVideo Out running XP Pro
Comp 2: Dell Dimension P3 550Mhz / 384MB RAM with old 2x CD-RW running XP Home.

1316.11.2003 21:27

This stuff would replace the 80Gb platters HDs use today. I doubt it. But for cheap temprorary use this material would be excelent. Greeting cards was a good example. I just hope they dont mess things up with standards.

1417.11.2003 10:50
alxdotnet
Inactive

Quote:
This stuff would replace the 80Gb platters HDs use today. I doubt it.
If they ever figure out how to make it rewritable, it will.
Comp 1: Dell Inspiron P4 2.4Ghz / 512 MB RAM with 24x CD-RW and Firewire In, SVideo Out running XP Pro
Comp 2: Dell Dimension P3 550Mhz / 384MB RAM with old 2x CD-RW running XP Home.

1518.11.2003 7:13

Quote:
and one square CM of the stuff would hold 12.5 Megabytes. Not exactly mass storage
Like I said, I doubt theyll make HDs of the stuff.

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