UW News

November 17, 2011

UW engineers help team with nano discovery

Two researchers at the University of Washington are among the team that documented what is called the nanoscale switching of a ferroelectric memory bit. Ferroelectric materials have the potential to replace some of the current memory technologies, and may offer greater storage and require less power to retain computer data.

The researchers findings, published today in the journal Science, could help bring about a significant change in computer memory technology and reduce its electrical power demands.

“Our findings address a fundamental issue in a promising field. In the long run, this research could lead to more reliable and power efficient ferroelectric memories,” said Jiangyu Li, associate professor of mechanical engineering and an author on the paper. Yuanming Liu, a UW doctoral candidate, is also an author.  Here is a video about the work.

“This is a direct visualization of the operation of ferroelectric memory,”  lead author Xiaoping Pan, a professor of materials science at the University of Michigan, said in a news release. Pan sees this first visualization paving the way toward memory with “less power consumption.”

Researchers at Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, Peking University in China and the University of Wisconsin-Madison also took part in the work.  Both the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation supported the work.