Researchers at Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center are working on a new type of computer memory called “FeTRAM,” which stands for ferroelectric transistor random access memory. The new technology combines silicon nanowires with a ferroelectric polymer. Together they make a ferroelectric transistor that has the potential to work faster than existing commercial memory technologies, and use 99% less energy than existing flash memory devices. The FeTRAM technology would be nonvolatile storage, able to hold information in memory after the computer is turned off. The technology is also compatible with the manufacturing process used to manufacture computer chips, so it has the potential to completely replace current conventional memory devices. FeTRAMs are an improvement on FeRAMs, which are a very small portion of the semiconductor market. FeRAMs cannot read information without losing it, while FeTRAMs can. This distinction alone makes FeTRAMs far superior to FeRAMs.
Although FeTRAMs exist only in the research lab at this time, it seems like their eventual use in the marketplace is inevitable. We should expect to have this new and exciting nano-based memory technology in our computer products within the next 10 years.