Computer and electronic technology has been moved forward a bit more, recently, with the advent of a new alloy for phase-change memory devices. The new material and technology is looking forward to being the next big technology in electronic storage for computing. With this newest electronic alloy, phase-change memory is becoming accessible to the larger consumer stage.
Phase-change memory storage is a technology that is promising to replace flash memory. Unlike flash memory (i.e. thumb drives and solid state hard drives), phase-change memory will not be limited in size, being able to store three times more information in the same volume of space. Phase-change memory does this by the material in it allowing three different phase states to exist simultaneously, thus being able to store three bits of information in the same volume that normally only one bit of information can occupy.
Until recently, commonly known materials for this technology was an alloy of tellurium, antimony, and germanium. In general, working with three different substances is much more difficult, not to mention the cost of needing more that two different materials for the technology. None of which was making it very promising for consumer electronics.
A research group from the Chinese Academy of Science has created a new alloy that has the potential of providing for our ever demanding need for more electronic store space. The new alloy is made up of just 50 aluminum atoms with 50 antimony atoms (Al50Sb50), a cheaper and more thermally tolerant phase-change device taking up less than 10 nanometers of space.
The potential of this new technological breakthrough is more electronic storage in a much smaller physical space. Three bits of information in the space of less than 10 nanometers? The potential of that is astounding. Not to mention the applications for such versatile memory applications within nano-technology. This newest of electronic alloys is now going to be accessible to a much larger stage, bringing phase-change memory to the world.
Again we are witness to something small leading to something very big. With the advent of this new storage technology we are another step closer to having wearable technology, nano-technology, and completely new bio-technology with soft and wet computing.
A quick explanation: Soft computing is a term used to talk about computers with a kind of fuzzy logic which means it is tolerant of imprecision, uncertainty, partial truth, and approximation; much like the human mind. Wet computing is a term used to talk about the processes of computing that simulates chemical reactions and the way neurons work in the brain.
Both soft and wet computing is thought to be part of the process of integrating Nature and computer technology. While this could look like many different things in many different scenarios, with the new phase-change memory technology we could see some interesting mergers of the technology as the scale grows smaller and smaller.
While this has much larger implications than can be shown at this point, just be aware that our technology continues to move forward in new and interesting ways. We are still inventing and discovering new alloys to meet many new and interesting challenges in our modern world. While the world of computing and electronics has slowed down a lot in the last few years, it has not stopped. As evidenced by this newest of electronic alloys which is going to bring phase-change memory to the larger stage of consumer technology worldwide.
Written by: Iam Bloom
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