Data storage takes an electric turn


Ferroelectrics could be the way out of a dilemma troubling the chip industry. They provide durable storage and yet can be written and read quickly. Magnetic materials, on the other hand, which are used to produce hard disks and which provide permanent data storage, are sluggish. Semiconductors, for their part, are efficient in handling data, but quick to forget – which means that the electrical charges of their capacitors require constant renewal. Ferroelectrics combine the benefits of both materials. In addition, it may be possible to achieve greater data density in them than previously assumed. They could therefore soon become the material of choice for working memories with a density of several terabits per square inch.



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