Scientists from MIPT have succeeded in growing ultra-thin (2.5-nanometre) ferroelectric films based on hafnium oxide that could potentially be used to develop non-volatile memory elements called ferroelectric tunnel junctions. The results of the study have been published in the journal ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces.
Humans are constantly expanding the volume of stored and processed information, which according to statistics is doubling every 1.5 years. To store this information, we need increasing amounts of computer memory, especially non-volatile memory, which stores information even in the event of a power outage. Scientists all over the world are trying to develop faster and more compact storage devices. The ideal would be a “universal” memory device with the speed of RAM, the capacity of a hard drive, and the non-volatility of a flash drive.
There are many known principles that can be used to build memory, but each one has its drawbacks. This is why modern computers and mobile devices have multiple types of memory.
Non-volatile memory based on ferroelectric tunnel junctions is a promising development that has not yet been fully implemented. A ferroelectric is a material that is able to “remember” the direction of an externally applied electric field by the residual polarization charge.
Thin-film ferroelectrics have for a long time been used to make non-volatile memory devices, however it is extremely difficult to miniaturize them in order to achieve high density / storage capacity and, in addition to this, they are made of materials that are “incompatible” with the production processes used in modern microelectronics.