Northwestern University researchers have developed a class of organic crystalline materials that have a ferroelectric property, which means they could be used in computer and cell phone memory applications such as cloud computing.
The researchers made the crystals using two small organic molecules that are extremely attracted to each other. Their self-attraction causes them to self assemble into an ordered network, which results in the ferroelectric properties.
In addition to computer memory, the researchers say the materials also could improve sensing devices, solar energy systems, and nanoelectronics. "Our molecular design enables us to invent a nearly infinite library of ferroelectric materials," says Northwestern professor Samuel I. Stupp.
Ferroelectric materials exhibit spontaneous electric polarization that can be reversed by the application of an electric field. These two possible orientations make the materials attractive to researchers developing computer memory because one orientation could correspond to a 1 and the other to a 0.
The materials also could help address the expensive maintenance of cloud computing, because ferroelectric materials could be developed into non-volatile memory applications. Ferroelectric memories promise to consume less power, last longer, and capture data faster than existing non-volatile memories.
From Northwestern University Newscenter
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