Imagine a time when your mobile will be your virtual assistant and will need far more than the 8k and 16k memory that it has today, or a world where laptops require gigabytes of memory because of the impact of convergence on the very nature of computing. How much space would your laptop need to carry all that memory capacity? Not much, if Intel's project with Thin Film Electronics ASA (TFE) of Sweden works according to plan. TFE's idea is to use polymer memory modules rather than silicon-based memory modules, and what's more it's going to use architecture that is quite different from silicon-based modules.?
While microchip makers continue to wring more and more from silicon, the most dramatic improvements in the electronics industry could come from an entirely different material plastic. Labs around the world are working on integrated circuits, displays for handheld devices and even solar cells that rely on electrically conducting polymers?not silicon?for cheap and flexible electronic components. Now two of the world?s leading chip makers are racing to develop new stock for this plastic microelectronic arsenal: polymer memory. Advanced Micro Devices of Sunnyvale, CA, is working with Coatue, a startup in Woburn, MA, to develop chips that store data in polymers rather than silicon. The technology, according to Coatue CEO Andrew Perlman, could lead to a cheaper and denser alternative to flash memory chips?the type of memory used in digital cameras and MP3 players. Meanwhile, Intel is collaborating with Thin Film Technologies in Linkping, Sweden, on a similar high capacity polymer memory.
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