A Flashy Trip Down Memory Lane

A novel memory device built by a Taiwan-Japan research team using perovskite material could enable seamless storage and high-speed data transfer.

AsianScientist (Jan. 12, 2022) – Harnessing unique properties of a crystalline material called perovskite, a research collaboration from Taiwan and Japan has crafted a flashy new memory device that stores and transmits data simultaneously at high speeds. This could help build better-performing electronics, highlighted the study published in Nature Communications.

In electronic devices, the basic unit of information is captured as a bit, taking the form of zero or one. Accelerating data transmission boils down to finding faster ways to store and read these bits. So, researchers have been looking for high-performance memory technologies to create more efficient computers and stronger data security systems.

One possibility involves nonvolatile resistive random-access memory (RRAM), which can rapidly switch between high and low resistance to represent the ones and zeros. However, RRAMs still run into speed limits. Electrical measurements are needed to check the resistance values, which leads to an ‘indirect’ and ultimately slower approach to each reading.

With the use of light-emitting diodes, scientists have been trying to combine RRAMs with optical readings—checking whether the light is on or off. To simplify production of such memory devices, a team from the National Taiwan Normal University and Japan’s Kyushu University used perovskite to attain both electrical and optical properties.

Charged atoms called ions move through perovskite’s crystalline shape, allowing the emission of light and the flow of current through the structure. Thanks to this synergistic combination, the researchers needed just one perovskite layer consisting of cesium lead bromide to fabricate a device that dually functions as a RRAM and light-emitting cell.

By modulating the switch-like movement of ions, the ‘light-emitting memory’ (LEM) device enables synchronized electrical and optical readings. One perovskite structure serves as the RRAM writing or erasing the information, while the second one simultaneously exhibits different colors per operation performed, flashing rapidly to transmit data in real-time.

According to the researchers, the highly-efficient transitions in the LEM offer the possibility of inventing enhanced technologies with unique multi-functionalities, broadening the scope of applications for perovskite materials.

“We believe that this work could lead to more powerful perovskite-based devices based on a more complicated device architecture, featuring high integration density, fast modulation speed and multiple device functionality,” the authors concluded.

The article can be found at: Yen et al. (2021) All-inorganic perovskite quantum dot light-emitting memories.


Source: National Taiwan Normal University; Photo: Shutterstock.
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