September 2, 2010 | Top Tech News
Scientists are skirting what many thought to be the limits of physics as they create ever-smaller digital switches, essential to creating computer memory. Based on silicon oxide, one of the basic building blocks of today’s chip industry, the new technology could yield single chips that store as much as today’s highest-capacity disk drives.
U.S. scientists say new technologies may bypass barriers to the miniaturization of computer memory, vital to the consumer electronics revolution.
The limits of physics had loomed as a possible slowdown in the pace of miniaturization that has allowed the ability to pack ever more power into ever-smaller devices such as laptops, smart phones and digital cameras, The New York Times reported.
Now two emerging technologies could overcome that barrier, researchers say.
At Rice University, scientists say they have succeeded in building reliable small digital switches, essential to computer memory, that could be made at a significantly smaller scale than is possible using conventional methods.
Based on silicon oxide, one of the basic building blocks of today’s chip industry, the new technology could yield single chips that store as much as today’s highest capacity disk drives, the Rice researchers say.
Hewlett-Packard says it will announce a commercial partnership with a major semiconductor company to produce a related technology that also could advance computer data storage to unheard-of densities in the next decade.