If you still don’t know what graphene is, you’d better learn pretty soon – because it’s the stuff of the future.

flash drive

Graphene-based flash drives could make this type of devices obsolete.

Graphene is a substance composed of pure carbon, with atoms arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern similar to graphite, but in a one-atom thick sheet. Ok, so what’s so special about it? Well, due to the fact that it is only one atom thick, it doesn’t really behave like a 3D material. Due to this fact, it has some unique, very useful properties which could be applied in a myriad of fields (including headphones, apparently).

The thing is, following the advancements made with graphene, other single-atom thick atoms. This time, researchers have used two of these materials—graphene and molybdenum disulfide—and put them together with some more traditional components to make a flash memory device. The device is still in its very early phases, with some of the components being manually assembled under a microscope, but already it shows some excellent properties, like like the potential to store more than one bit per device (bare in mind – 1 atom thick) for more than 10 years.

The device basically consists of two electrodes that feed current through a semiconductor within the device. To make it as compact as possible, researchers started with two sheets of graphene layered on some silicon, separated by a small gap. These sheets served as electrodes, and the next layer on top was the semiconductor formed by a single-molecule-thick sheet of molybdenum disulfide. After that, it was all insulation.

RELATED  Second generation EM drive is just around the corner, patent made public on Friday

The only thing that was thicker than an atom was the insulation – even though such insulators exist.

Via ArsTechnica

Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!

Estimate my solar savings!