A University of Michigan research team has discovered a method to enhance the performance of ferroelectric substances, which can create memory devices that store more memory than magnetic hard disks.
It also offers rapid write speed and long lifespan than flash memory. Ferroelectric memory allows the molecular electrical polarization direction to serve as a 0 or 1-bit. An electric field turns the polarization over to store data.
Xiaoqing Pan, a professor in the U-M Department of Materials Science and Engineering, along with teams from Cornell University, Penn State University, and University of Wisconsin, has designed a material platform to instinctively create nano-size coils of the electric polarization at monitored gaps. This delivers natural budding locations for the polarization switching and flips each bit in a power efficient way.
A ferroelectric material was layered on an insulator with matching crystal lattices. The process leads to large electric fields at the surface that form the budding sites called vortex nanodomains.
Atomic resolution was used to track the process. For this, images from a sub-angstrom resolution transmission electron microscope at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were used. Software was also developed to monitor image processing. This method helped the team find vortex nanodomains in which the process slowly rotates around the vortices.