Research team at the University of Southampton along with its partners at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Japan and Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory plan to develop low-power, non-volatile and less-weight logic systems to carry out instant on/off logic operations.
This is a three-year UK-Japan project headed by Professor Hiroshi Mizuta of electronics and computer science (ECS) at Southampton and Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of atomic electronics group, NIMS. The goal of the project is to produce a low-power and non-volatile logic system that utilizes three-terminal metal oxide atom transistors in combination with nano-electro mechanical switches (NEMS). An important characteristic of this system will be an “on/off” switch which works using a suspended nanobeam that oscillates up and down when voltage is applied to it. As a result the computer gets powered instantly without any time delay.
Dr Chong explained that the ‘instant’ characteristic of this switch indicates that it requires very less pW per transistor, enabling less power consumption. This device has potentially minimum leakage enabling powerful and light weight portable computing devices. All hindrances in processing information that presently depends on its own memory will be overcome by this technology, he added.
In order to minimize power consumption, scientists are planning to expand the non-volatile computer chip memory. The intention in doing so is that by expanding non-volatile memory, large quantities of power need not be applied to it for data retention in its memory.
Initially, the new device will be available in the form of an integrated logic-memory chip to provide feasibility in portable devices. This memory retention capacity tends to produce compact and light weight computer and mobile phone devices.