Information storage for the next generation of plastic computers

April 16, 2014 by Gary Galluzzo

Inexpensive computers, cell phones and other systems that substitute flexible plastic for silicon chips may be one step closer to reality, thanks to research published on April 16 in the journal Nature Communications.

The paper describes a new proposal by University of Iowa researchers and their colleagues at New York University for overcoming a major obstacle to the development of such plastic devices—the large amount of energy required to read stored .

Although it is relatively cheap and easy to encode information in light for fiber optic transmission, storing information is most efficiently done using magnetism, which ensures information will survive for years without any additional power.

"So a critical issue is how to convert information from one type to another," says Michael Flatté, professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and director of the UI Optical Science and Technology Center.

"Although it does not cost a lot of energy to convert one to the other in ordinary, silicon-chip-based computers, the energy cost is very high for flexible, plastic computing devices that are hoped to be used for inexpensive "throwaway" information processors.

"Here we show an efficient means of converting information encoded in magnetic storage to light in a flexible plastic device," says Flatté, who also serves as professor in the UI College of Engineering's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

What Flatté and his colleagues did was to successfully accomplish information transduction (or transfer and conversion) between a magnet and an at room temperature and without electrical current flow between the magnet and the organic device.

"The magnetic fields from the magnetic storage device directly modify the light emission from the device. This could help solve problems of storage and communication for new types of inexpensive, low-power computers based on conducting plastics," says professor Markus Wohlgenannt, also of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Optical Science and Technology Center.

Professor Andrew Kent of New York University notes that while these studies were conducted on relatively large devices, miniaturized devices would operate on the same principles and enable new types of high capacity storage technologies.

Explore further: Researchers demonstrate holographic memory device

More information: "Organic Magnetoelectroluminescence for Room Temperature Transduction between Magnetic and Optical Information" Nature Communications, 2014.

Related Stories

Researchers demonstrate holographic memory device

February 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and Russian Academy of Science have demonstrated a new type of holographic memory device that could provide unprecedented ...

Recommended for you

Study calculates the speed of ice formation

August 3, 2015

Researchers at Princeton University have for the first time directly calculated the rate at which water crystallizes into ice in a realistic computer model of water molecules. The simulations, which were carried out on supercomputers, ...

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips

August 3, 2015

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have discovered a new way to switch the polarization of nanomagnets, paving the way for high-density storage to move from hard disks onto integrated circuits.

Scientists bring order, and color, to microparticles

August 3, 2015

A team of New York University scientists has developed a technique that prompts microparticles to form ordered structures in a variety of materials. The advance, which appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society ...

Rogue wave theory to save ships

July 29, 2015

Physicists have found an explanation for rogue waves in the ocean and hope their theory will lead to devices to warn ships and save lives.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.