Sat, Oct 08, 2011 - Page 11 News List

RRAM chip showcased at annual nanotech exhibition

Staff Writer, with CNA

A high-speed memorychip that significantly increases computing speed and thermoelectric materials that allow cars to transform waste heat into electricity were among the various breakthrough technologies unveiled at this year’s Taiwan Nano Exhibition this week in Taipei.

The exhibition, which ended yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Exhibition Hall 1, showcased innovative nanotech devices produced by Taiwanese research institutes as well as foreign and domestic companies.

Among the 19 devices on show at the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) booth was a high-speed non-volatile resistive random-access memory (RRAM) chip that could significantly improve the speed and power consumption of computers, memory cards, flash drives and other consumer electronics products.

The chip can run up to 20 times faster than flash memory and it consumes only 20 percent of the power used by flash memory, currently the dominant storage technology in consumer electronics products, said Lin Wen-pin, an engineer on the team that developed the chip.

The chip can survive for more than 10 years at a temperature of 200°C, unlike compact disks, which deform under heat, said Fang Yung-nien, division director of the Planning and Promotion Division under the ITRI’s Nano Technology Research Center.

According to Fang, the chip is still being developed, although a few Taiwanese companies have already expressed interest in investing in it.

Another technology on display is a high-performance thermoelectric material using nanotechnology to transform waste heat into electricity.

The technology, currently in its initial stage of development, could help reduce carbon emissions and minimize power consumption by converting 7 percent of the waste heat produced by cars and industrial plants into electricity for reuse, said Hsu Chia-cheng, a member of the research team that developed the technology.

Because of its small size, it could be installed in car engines and exhaust pipes.

Other devices on display included a small chip that could be inserted into mobile phones to enable users to project images wherever they go, as well as a bendable touch-screen display for which trial production has already begun

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) said on Wednesday the development of nanotechnology has created differentiations in traditional industries, leading to new added value.

Hwang said the focus on applications in lithium-ion batteries and semiconductors has now shifted to changes in the use of materials in the nanotech industry.

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