A Step Towards Ultrahigh-Density Memory Devices The First Ferroelectric Columnar Liquid Crystal with Axial Polarization
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.
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.
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.