Scientists Unveil Most Dense Memory Circuit Ever Made

Jan. 26, 2007
The 160-kilobit memory cell has a bit density of 100 gigabits per square centimeter.

The most dense computer memory circuit ever fabricated -- capable of storing around 2,000 words in a unit the size of a white blood cell -- was unveiled by scientists in California last week. The team of experts at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) who developed the 160-kilobit memory cell say it has a bit density of 100 gigabits per square centimeter, a new record.

The cell is capable of storing a file the size of the U.S.' Declaration of Independence with room left over, Caltech said.

But the chances of the unit being used in a laptop any time soon is remote, said Caltech chemistry professor James Heath, who led the research. "It's the sort of device that Intel would contemplate making in the year 2020," Heath said. "But at the moment, it furthers our goal of learning how to manufacture functional electronic circuitry at molecular dimensions."

Whether the 2020 date is viable depends on the validity of Moore's law, which states that the complexity of an integrated circuit typically will double every year, he said.

However, manufacturers currently can see no clear way of extending the miniaturization beyond the year 2013, the Caltech-UCLA team writes in an article in the journal Nature .

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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