A Korean research team has succeeded in developing a new kind of ferroelectrics, an important element of next-generation memory that can replace existing memory semiconductors' limited functions.
A joint research team headed by Oh Yoon-suk, professor at the School of Natural Science of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and Jung Sang-wook, professor at Rutgers University, announced on Jan. 13 that they have succeeded in developing ferroelectrics with positive and negative poles that are arranged horizontally when an outside electric charge is present.
Ferroelectrics are non-conductors, but have the potential for electric polarizability inside. When an electric charge is applied to ferroelectrics, the arrangement of the positive and negative poles is reversed. As a result, electricity flows alongside the boundary interface of the same polarity, called polarization.
Ferroelectrics can maintain polarization without electric voltages after the electric charge from the outside ends. Hence, the material is expected to be usable in developing devices that can store information and batteries for laptops that can last all day long after being charged only once.
The research team was able to develop new ferroelectrics where calcium, strontium, titanium, and oxygen were arranged like a grid. Generally, the polarization phenomenon of ferroelectrics is a variation of the positive and negative poles in the vertical direction. However, the polarization phenomenon of these newly-developed ferroelectrics occurs horizontally.
When polarization occurs horizontally, electricity can flow alongside a boundary interface, consisting of the same polarities, narrower than one nanometer. Thus, the development of electric circuits of a narrower width device can contribute to improving the performance of memory semiconductors.
Professor Oh said, “If the rotation of the molecular structure can be controlled through electric pressure from the outside, it will be possible to develop a dream material that can control magnetism or conductivity occuring from the structure of the material due to its nature.”
The research findings were first published online on Jan. 13 by Nature Materials, a scientific journal published by Nature Publishing Group.