Monday, April 13, 2009

Faster, Bigger Hard Drives

A Step Toward Superfast Carbon Memory
Graphene, a flat sheet of hexagonally arranged carbon atoms, can transport electrons very quickly. This has made it a promising material for high radio-frequency logic circuits, transparent electrodes for flexible flat-panel displays, and high-surface-area electrodes for ultracapacitors.

Now researchers at the National University of Singapore have made computer memory devices using graphene. This is the first step toward memory that could be much denser and faster than the magnetic memory used in today's hard drives.


Graphene memory would have significant advantages over today's magnetic memory. Bits could be read 30 times faster because electrons move through graphene quickly. Plus, the memory could be denser. Bit areas on hard disks are currently a few tens of nanometers across. At densities of 1 terabit per square inch, they will be about 25 nanometers across, too small to hold their magnetization direction. With graphene, bits could shrink to 10 nanometers or even smaller.

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