The new technology - called FeTRAM, or ferroelectric transistor random access memory - combines silicon nanowires with a "ferroelectric" polymer, a material the scientists say switches polarity when electric fields are applied to enable a new type of ferroelectric transistor.
"It's in a very nascent stage," said doctoral student Saptarshi Das, adding that the ferroelectric transistor's changing polarity is read as 0 or 1 to store information in binary code. "We've developed the theory shown how it works in a circuit."
According to the Purdue team, the FeTRAM technology has non-volatile storage and the potential to use 99% less energy than the flash memory storage devices used in current laptops.
"Our present device consumes more power because it is still not properly scaled," Das said. "For future generations of FeTRAM technologies one of the main objectives will be to reduce the power dissipation.”
The FeTRAM technology fulfills the three basic functions of computer memory: to write information, read the information and hold it for a long period of time.
The researchers said the technology had been submitted for a patent and could be easily deployed by manufacturers because it was compatible with industry manufacturing processes for complementary metal oxide semiconductors, or CMOS.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk