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Korean researchers develop ultra-micro memory technology

Korean researchers develop ultra-micro memory technology

Posted March. 09, 2017 07:03,   

Updated March. 09, 2017 07:11


Korean researchers have recently developed an ultra-mini USB memory chip, small as a finger but capable of saving the entire movies released until now around the world.

Led by Andreas Heinrich, the head of Center for Quantum Nano Science at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), and his team announced on Wednesday that the team developed the "atom unit memory technology" using holmium (Ho), which is merely 0.175nm (1 nanometer equals 1m/1 billion.) in diameter. In addition, the team has succeeded in stably writing and reading 1 bit; the minimum amount of information required for an atom to use a computer memory device.

In a nutshell, the memory was designed to express two types of magnetic atoms into 0 and 1. As a minimal particle for constituting a chemical element, atom is theoretically proved as the smallest memory unit to store information. At the current time, German Professor Heinrich has been teaching Physics at Ewha Womans University.

Current memory chips on the market require around 100,000 atoms to implement 1 bit. "When an atom-unit memory technology is used, we can store approximately 1 million gigabytes of information in a memory chip equivalent to a size of the current USB sticks," explained Choi Tae-young, a researcher at IBS.

While size may be the same, memory chips can store higher volumes of circuits and data when semiconductor circuit widths can be reduced. Until now, researchers were met with restrictions on width, which can only be narrowed to 10nm due to heating issues. However, memory technology based on atom-unit enables the device to function even when each holmium atom is as close as 1nm. Professor Heinrich said that (the recent development) will give a push to developing data storing technologies for the next generation quantum computers. Their findings have been published on the international journal "Nature" on Thursday.