Researchers have synthesised an organic non-volatile memory device using cellulose fibres1. This device can retain data even in the absence of power. This means that it doesn’t lose data when a computer is shut down.
Since non-volatile memory devices can retain data after shutting down a computer, they are a better alternative to volatile memory devices. However, they are so far expensive and inefficient.
The commonly used memory devices are a volatile form of random access memory (RAM). When a computer is shut down, data stored in RAM is lost.
Scientists from the Shivaji University and the Bharati Vidyapeeth’s College of Engineering in Kolhapur, India, fabricated the non-volatile memory device using cellulose fibres, silver paste and aluminium. They then explored the potential of this device by exposing it to external voltage.
On being exposed to different voltages, the device changed its resistance. Applying external voltage switched the resistance reversibly between a high-resistance state and a low-resistance state. The two states can be utilised to store data in binary digits such as ‘1’ and ‘0’.
The device was able to retain data for 300 seconds without any observable degradation in its performance. The formation and breaking of silver conductive filaments in the active cellulose fibre layer in the device contributed to its resistance change and data-storing efficiency.
The researchers say that the cellulose-fibre-based device is reliable in terms of endurance and data retention, making it potentially useful for developing organic memory devices for next-generation computers.