Data storage

Stanford University researchers uncover the path to more energy-efficient data storage

Researchers from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University have created a flexible phase-change memory made of a superlattice material that becomes 100 times more energy efficient when placed on a flexible, bendable substrate . This application has the potential to create more energy-efficient data storage.

Companies like Intel have released phase-change memory, but technology companies continue to pursue power efficiency. The researchers said their work points the way to bringing unprecedented energy efficiency to emerging applications of flexible electronics such as foldable displays on smartphones and flexible processors.

Asir Intisar Khan, a fourth-year Ph.D. an electrical engineering student at Stanford University, explains that as consumer electronics such as computers, cell phones and digital cameras are getting smaller, they require more and faster storage. “Our faster, power-efficient high-density memory technology could be a winner in these consumer electronics devices.”

“Any improvement in energy efficiency in consumer electronics is a big relief for batteries because batteries can be made smaller or even eliminated altogether. [..]”, said Khan. “In addition, this type of memory technology can store data for more than ten years.

Khan says, for example, if a person is using a computer with their memory technology, they can turn it off and back on and pick up where they left off, or they can do it in real time or ten years later.

“In this example, these computers would not lose critical data in the event of a system crash or an unexpected power outage,” Khan said. “So overall, our memory technology could also significantly increase the battery life of portable devices. energy with flexible electronics.”

Khan adds that other advantages of the team’s discovery of energy-efficient flexible memory include thinness, conformability and low manufacturing costs compared to existing PCM technologies on the conventional silicon substrate.

“Adhesive displays and cheap flexible plastic sensors, they’ll need a way to store long-term data that can be built on plastic where our unique energy-efficient flexible memory is a breakthrough,” Khan said. “These could further enable electronic skin, smart Internet of Things (IoT) sensors for food or drug monitoring like smart labels, and even flexible computing processors, which could revolutionize supply chains. sourcing and personalized health care.