NEW YORK Rolltronics Corp. said Monday (June 24) that it is developing a nanoscale thin-film memory that stores data in molecule-sized "cylinders" that retain data when power is removed. The NanoMem technology has the potential to store 10 to 100 times more data in the same space as current flash memory, and can be produced at a much lower cost, the company said.
Rolltronics , said it will make the NanoMem devices on a continuous roll-to-roll manufacturing production process similar to those used to print newspapers, in which the NanoMem devices are "printed" on a long roll of flexible plastic or metal foil that passes through production chambers, using rollers to define its path.
"Roll-to-roll manufacturing will allow Rolltronics to reduce costs by as much as five times, compared to flash memory, while increasing the data density 10 to 100 times," said Michael Sauvante, chief executive officer of Rolltronics (Menlo Park, Calif.). "It will take several years, but our molecular memory technology will make it possible."
NanoMem technology works on a principle of self-assembly. Data is stored in the molecules that self-assemble into cylindrical stacks in a sheet of plastic that is about 1.0 micron thick. The data is written in a low-voltage optoelectronic process that traps an electrical charge in the molecules of the plastic.
The nanoscale memory arrays are capable of storing data at such density that a PC Card module, for example, could hold up to 64 Gbytes of data, or 100 times more than current PC Cards that use flash memory chips. Also, a larger USB memory module would be capable of storing up to 5 terabytes of data in the same space as a standard 3.5-inch hard-disk drive.
Prototypes of the new memory technology developed and tested at the University of Texas in Austin revealed zero detectable data loss after 7,000 hours without power, and zero data degradation after 1.5 billion read-write cycles.
Storage devices based on NanoMem technology are slated to become available in 2004.
The company develops roll-to-roll manufacturing processes for producing electronic devices such as the NanoMem as well as thin-film batteries. It uses the process for producing flexible display components such as plastic OLEDs and electronic paper.