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A Step Towards Ultrahigh-Density Memory Devices

The First Ferroelectric Columnar Liquid Crystal with Axial Polarization

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Graduate School of Engineering / Faculty of Engineering
2012/05/07

Researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering have developed the first ferroelectric columnar liquid crystal, a potential candidate for an ultrahigh-density memory device. Compared to conventional inorganic memory technologies, columnar liquid crystal is an organic material and does not require the use of rare metals. Furthermore, because liquid crystals self-assemble into an ordered structure, columnar liquid crystal can be fabricated into devices without high-cost processes and their use in memory devices could drastically improve cost performance.

 
Schematic illustration of the electrical response of ferroelectrical columnar liquid crystal © Takuzo Aida

Schematic illustration of the electrical response of ferroelectrical columnar liquid crystal © Takuzo Aida

In this report, researchers have devised a novel molecular design of liquid crystalline material, which self-assembled into columns with diameter of 4.5 nm and achieved ferroelectricity in an ultrasmall column. If each column were accessible by an electric field for reading and writing, it could ultimately serve as a one-bit memory. In this case, the maximum memory storage density could theoretically reach 36 Tbit/inch2, more than 1,000 times higher than that of current blue-ray disk technology. While there are many remaining challenges to be tackled before realization of a practical device, recent rapid progress in related technologies suggests that such an ultra-high density memory device might be realizable in the near feature.

Press release

Paper

Daigo Miyajima, Fumito Araoka, Hideo Takezoe, Jungeun Kim, Kenichi Kato, Masaki Takata and Takuzo Aida,
“Ferroelectric Columnar Liquid Crystal Featuring Confined Polar Groups Within Core-Shell Architecture”,
Science, 2012 (April 13 issue), doi: 10.1126/science.1217954.
Article link

Links

Graduate School of Engineering

Aida Laboratory

Takezoe and Ishikawa Laboratory

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