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Press Release 09-074
"Instant On" Computing

Materials researchers say rebooting soon may be a thing of the past

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Illustration showing atomic structure of strontium titanite and silicon.

Researchers report matching the spacing of silicon atoms--the principal component of computer semiconductors--and the spacing of atoms in a material called strontium titanate--a normally non-ferroelectric variant of a material used in "instant memory smart cards." The matched spacing allows the silicon to squeeze the strontium titanate in such a way that it produces ferroelectric properities. Ferroelectric materials provide low-power, high-efficiency electronic memory for devices such as "smart cards" that can instantly reveal and update stored information when waved before a reader. When applied to computer transistors, these materials could allow "instant-on" capability, eliminating the time-consuming booting and rebooting of computer operating systems.

Credit: Jeremy Levy, University of Pittsburgh


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Cover of April 17, 2009, issue of Science magazine.

The researchers' findings are published in the April 17, 2009, issue of Science magazine.

Credit: Copyright 2009 AAAS


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