Researchers aim for transistors that compute and store in one component

Researchers aim for transistors that compute and store in one component

Researchers at Purdue University have made progress towards an elusive goal: building a transistor that can both process and store information. In the future, a single on-chip component could integrate the processing functions of transistors with the storage capabilities of ferroelectric RAM, potentially creating a process-memory combo that enables faster computing and is just atoms thick.

The ability to cram more functions onto a chip, allowing for greater speed and power without increasing the footprint, is a core goal of electronics design. To get where they are today, engineers at Purdue had to overcome incompatibilities between transistors – the switching and amplification mechanisms used in almost all electronics – and ferroelectric RAM. Ferroelectric RAM is higher-performing memory technology; the material introduces non-volatility, which means it retains information when power is lost, unlike traditional dielectric-layer-constructed DRAM.

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