A team led by National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) physicists yesterday announced a major breakthrough regarding a next-generation memory storage material that is expected to multiply the efficiency of memory units and pave the way for quantum technology development.
Traditional memory devices process information based on two logic states — zero and one — while their efficiency can be improved only by increasing the density of components and reducing their size, department of physics assistant professor Yang Jan-chi (楊展其) said.
To eliminate the bottleneck in memory development, the team turned to an alternative material — bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3), a material that can record eight logic states and keep the stored information for up to a year even when it is not powered or is heated up to 400°C, Yang said.
Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times
The main breakthrough involves controlling the material through laser illumination, which helps reduce delays in the reading of data and energy consumption, while boosting calculation efficiency, he said.
No other researchers have attempted to control high-density memory material using optical means, he said.
Yang, 32, is also enrolled in a Ministry of Science and Technology young talent cultivation program.
The development of BiFeO3 largely remains at the level of academic research and the team has found that the light-driven flexoelectric effect is key to its manipulation, professor Chen Yi-chun (陳宜君) said.
As light presents alternating electromagnetic fields, it is seldom used to control the operations of memory materials, she said.
Nonetheless, the team found that the material’s operations could be manipulated when placed on a surface whose strain gradient is slightly altered by illumination, she said.
The findings were detailed in a paper titled “Deterministic optical control of room temperature multiferroicity in BiFeO3 thin films,” published in the journal Nature Materials on May 6.
The team submitted the manuscript in July last year and it was accepted in March, Chen said.
The team expressed gratitude to collaborators at Hsinchu-based National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center and National Chiao Tung University, as well as members from Germany’s Max-Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, the University of Texas at Arlington and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of New South Wales.
While more time is needed before the technology becomes commercially applicable, its discovery brings the nation a step closer to quantum computing technology, which would require highly efficient calculating units, NCKU vice president for research and development Hsieh Sun-yuan (謝孫源) said.
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
CAUTION: The CECC would first observe how the nation fares after easing domestic restrictions and wait for the pandemic to further subside before making its next move The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that relaxing domestic restrictions and border controls simultaneously might complicate efforts to reopen the nation, amid discussions about Taiwan’s exclusion by other countries in their first lists of tourists. The center hopes for there to be a period of observation following the easing of domestic restrictions, before it decides what to do next, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. Chen was responding to a question about the reasoning behind the central government’s decision not to allow foreign students into the
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would