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Carbon Nanotube-Based NVRAM In 2-3 Years?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the nano-ram dept.

User Journal 66

According to NanoWerk, UC Riverside researchers have come up with a memory device based on telescoping multi-walled carbon nanotubes. According to one of the researchers, 'This finding leads to a promising potential to build ultrafast high-density nonvolatile memory, up to 100 gigahertz or into the terahertz range" and a prototype could be demonstrated "in the next two to three years.' Similar devices from UCLA and Caltech based on bistable rotaxanes are farther along in being integrated into actual memory circuits, but tend to break after a fairly small number of position changes. Carbon nanotubes may promise more durable switches.

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So, if this were extended to a... (5, Funny)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014460)

"Backend Architecture, Nano-RAM, type A" it would be called BA-Nano-RAM-A? ....it's ok....I'll just go now....

Re:So, if this were extended to a... (1, Offtopic)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014578)

I wish I could mod your post down and then mod it back up funny again, just because it needs more funny mods.

-stormin

Re:So, if this were extended to a... (1)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015376)

It's a cruel, cruel gate switch

Re:So, if this were extended to a... (4, Funny)

ashridah (72567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015580)

It could be worse, it could be a gate and switch scam

Re:So, if this were extended to a... (1)

MrSelfDestruct (30535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015846)

I salute you, sir!

Carbonite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18014500)

I'd rather be frozen in carbonite!

Simulations or something concrete? (4, Insightful)

haluness (219661) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014530)

A brief scan of the paper seemed to indicate that their results were based on simulations. Do they have some working model that justifies it coming out in 2 or 3 years?

Or did I read the paper to fast (hey, at least I *did* RTFA)?

Re:Simulations or something concrete? (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014616)

The working model would be the prototype that they are speculating could be built in 2-3 years. From TFA:

Jiang predicted a likely functioning prototype of a molecular processor could be demonstrated in the next two to three years.

Re:Simulations or something concrete? (3, Informative)

Shad_the_protector (931920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014682)

The title is sightly wrong here, they plan on having a proto in 2 or 3 year..... not a wide-spread product.

But it is still a good news to know that there is something coming for NVRAM better than flash memory

Re:Simulations or something concrete? (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016532)

So, I can expect it in mass production, say, in time for my second-next computer.

who knew (5, Funny)

President_Camacho (1063384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014534)

According to NanoWerk, UC Riverside researchers have come up with a memory device based on telescoping multi-walled carbon nanotubes.

Who would have guessed that, in the future, your computer would be a series of tubes?

Re:who knew (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014718)

Who would have guessed that, in the future, your computer would be a series of tubes?

Yeah, but I'd rather it were a big truck--something I can just dump something on.

Re:who knew (1)

sokoban (142301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014750)

ultrafast high-density nonvolatile memory
Apparently it will be a series of tubes which you will be able to just dump something on, because the tubes will be able to store an enormous amount of material, enormous amount of material.

Re:who knew (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014824)

That's what ENIAC was.

Re:who knew (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014940)

ENIAC's tubes were in parallel.

Re:who knew (2, Informative)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016778)

I think it did a lot of work as a serial processor. From this description [upenn.edu] :

"The ENIAC was controlled through a train of electronic pulses."

--and--

"because the various units of the ENIAC could operate simultaneously, the ENIAC could perform calculations in parallel. (BUT!) ENIAC programmers tended to avoid this use because the impressive but limited reliability of the ENIAC favored the use of as few units as possible for a given application."

Re:who knew (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015344)

I, for one, welcome our high-density, nonvolatile, terahertz memory nano-tubular overlords!

Re:who knew (1)

Stitch_Surfs (895163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015538)

Well, at least we know that it - like the Internet[s]- is not a dump truck.

Nano Abacus? (3, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014588)

It looks to me like they've essentially created what could be compared to a nano-abacus. I wonder how immune this system would be to physical movement (i.e. jarring). In a similar vein, I would imagine that it would be just as static sensitive as most other memory devices even though.

Did I miss something, though? How is the position of the telescoping tube read? Applying a current to it would change the position, would it not?

Re:Nano Abacus? (2, Insightful)

unc0nn3ct3d (952682) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014800)

I imagine this would be just as immune to physical jarring as say blood cells in your blood vessels would be wouldn't it? Or as resiliant as the atomic bond in elements are.. At this scale the physical movements that we create as humans wouldn't be felt, similar as the molecules in your hand don't feel it when you wave at someone, but the hand as a whole feels it.. or at least that is what I would think

Re:Nano Abacus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015994)

F=m*a=V*q*a; Resistance force drops with x^3. That's why ants survive multimeter drops and that's why everything in microcosmos needs very large acceleration to get the same force as large bodies. And materials on nano level are more "pure" and have even better strength than macro level objects.

I really apologize for my bad english. And for anon post.

Re:Nano Abacus? (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016056)

Ehm, just a thought: first you put a possitive V on one side, making it go to the right (picture b). After that you put a (higher) possitive voltage to the outer tube (note that it is also connected, initially to the ground). The left simply acts as ground, not atracting the inner tube. Could this work? This would also mean that the tube would stay attracted to the right, solving the first problem you came up with.

Movements wouldn't bother it at all (3, Informative)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016258)

At the nano scale, momentum of objects is near zero and friction forces, van der waals, and the like dominate entirely. Macro-scale motion, and even intense vibration, simply won't move things around relative to each other.

 

Re:Movements wouldn't bother it at all (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019704)

Is that a strong enough argument for introducing moving parts into an otherwise solid state system? I know that wasn't what was said above, but does this fix the issues introduced by that?

Re:Movements wouldn't bother it at all (1)

salec (791463) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021886)

We've already passed that introduction stage. You have been able to buy "solid state" commercial of-the shelf parts (high speed, very high rewrite endurance non volatile memory... and even microcontrollers) based on similar processes of molecule reshapings (no carbon nanotubes in them, though) for years. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferroelectric_RAM [wikipedia.org]

Oh my! (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014684)

A new take on an old concept? Using nanotubes?! Who'da thunk it!

Where bandwidth is of concern... (0, Offtopic)

Silas Palmer-Cannon (973394) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014690)

I believe these tubes need to get bigger, not smaller. One knows you can push more internets through bigger tubes!!1!

It's a good idea... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014766)

Carbon's pretty good. I assume you could use diamond in it's purest form to make the basis of a processor after doping it properly to make it a transistor. Thermal tolerances for these would be excellent. But I think I'll wait for Ovonic Unified Memory. It's already technology in use today, just done a bit differently for the applications I'm waiting for it to be used for.

Re:It's a good idea... (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015700)

Diamond as semiconductor has been studied for some time. There are some progress [aist.go.jp] recently. But it is not easy to make big single crystal diamond yet, not to mention single crystal diamond wafer. Just imagine how difficult it could be to polish the diamond wafer without introducing many defects, and how hard could it be to characterize how many defects you get in the wafer.

Expensive? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015788)

You oust an existing technology, you need more than a high coolness factor. NAND flash costs less than 2c per MByte and falling. There are plenty factories set up to produce it, it is fast enough and low power enough for most mobile applications.

In 2-3 years there might be a nanotube demo, but that's a long way from being something that you can mass produce for significantly lower cost than NAND.

Re:Expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18019088)

Look it up. It's also known as Phase-Change memory. The same Chalcogenide (sp?) glass used in rewritable optical discs can be manufactured in MUCH higher densities than standard silicon, and instead of using light, we can use electricity to transform the glass from amorphous to crystalline, and back, at rapid speeds, with on the order of 10 trillion read/write cycles, compared to current Flash RAM, which is on the order of only a few hundred thousand read/write cycles. In that way, it's very comparable to current DRAM. This technology MAY even replace SRAM beforehand since it will theoretically take up a much, MUCH smaller area which made DRAM unlikely to be used as processor cache memory.

Read about it here... http://www.ovonyx.com/tech_html.html [ovonyx.com]

Re:Expensive? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079202)

Better check yourself before you wreck yourself, Khyber. You're talking about a silicate glass technology that's just now maturing. If what you say IS true with this technology, then we will indeed have massively faster drives and storage access, not to mention the size (I can forsee these drives exceeding any physical steel platter solutions) since this technology you mention results in far smaller sizes die-wise for memory.

While I'd hope for this as a replacement for SRAM, since it's nearly as fast, I'm still not going to hold my breath, AC. Even I'm smart enough to realize the potential physical limitations, no matter what the source. I love the idea, and I tout it around on my own chain, but it's still not mature enough nor widespread enough to garner attention.

This technology needs more exposure to be worth a damn. I'm just showing the technology, you're just pushing the technology as the next best thing when it's not even matured.

You'd make a great marketer, AC, but you'd SUCK at delivering the final point.

Re:Expensive? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18079232)

Just FYI, /. crowd, yes, I am talking to myself. I'm MPD-diagnosed, and I argue with myself on this simple shit all day long. Ignore my other self and relax, guys. We're not taking over the world like the daydream version of myself wants to. It's all good. Just play some Cypress Hill and he'll be subdued. He's a stoner, a bright one, but the fucker just jumps to far too many conclusions to have a rational stoned mind like Einstein and many other great intoxicated scientists. I can't believe I share his fucking body with that wrecked mind he has, but the poor kid got badly abused as a child. No wonder he's stuck cowering with several hidden personas. I'll save you as much as I can from himself, but no guarantees. It's either trollville or insightvile for this version, but I think he's too uneducated to keep his faux-intelligence up much longer. ~Khyber's legal medically-altered alter-ego, struggling to communicate thru the lithium.

Re:It's a good idea... (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019662)

Diamond makes a fantastic semiconductor, and it's more heat tolerant than silicon. The drawback, however, is that it's not easy to make diamond slivers :P

Weren't we supposed to have this last year? (1)

shbazjinkens (776313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014802)

Re:Weren't we supposed to have this last year? (2, Informative)

chrisb33 (964639) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016246)

I wouldn't condemn Nantero to vaporware status just yet - it seems that they've been making progress. Here's a list of their press releases [nantero.com] - notice that they successfully fabricated a switch in April and have made their processes compatible with current CMOS fab lines.

2-3 years? Vapourware alarm! (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014816)

I've just seen that figure too many times now... 2 years is still a short enough time that it might seem feasable but still long enough away that by the time it has gone by, most everybody will have forgotten about it and moved on to something else.

It'd be really neat if this turns out to be genuine, but I'm not holding my breath. Been disappointed too many times already.

Re:2-3 years? Vapourware alarm! (1)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018498)

This technology http://www.nantero.com/mission.html [nantero.com] is suppose to be ready some time this year. It use cnt as lever in a small relay. They call their memory nram and it is suppose to be very fast access and non-volatile. There is a video at their site explaining how its memory works.

Re:2-3 years? Vapourware alarm! (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18022086)

I've just seen that figure too many times now... 2 years is still a short enough time that it might seem feasable but still long enough away that by the time it has gone by, most everybody will have forgotten about it and moved on to something else.

2-3 years to early prototype
5 years to well working prototype
7-8 years to get it to mass production
10+ years to consumer markets ...even if this stuff is true, it's far off in the future. But, I guess we can hope...

Prescient SF FTW (3, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014836)

Sounds vaguely similar to the nano-scale rod-logic of Neal Stephenson's stories.

Re:Prescient SF FTW (1)

adamofdoom (1005365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015386)

(w00t, Young Lady's Illustrated Primer reference! Loved that book...) That's the same thing I thought of when I first saw this.

Re:Prescient SF FTW (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015402)

Before someone jumps all over me, I should mention Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation [amazon.com] .

Re:Prescient SF FTW (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019240)

Let me correct you here: Sounds vaguely similar to the nano-scale rod-logic of K. Eric Drexler's Nanosystems.

Credit's due where credit's due, after all.

Re:Prescient SF FTW (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18024658)

That's exactly why I posted this comment [slashdot.org] directly above yours. I not sure how you missed seeing it.

Re:Prescient SF FTW (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 7 years ago | (#18027768)

Because I browse at +3.

How will they make them? (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18014978)

I'll bet £50 it'll be as expensive as anything. They still haven't got a way to manufacture nanotubes to exact specifications cheaply, so good luck to those researching this.

How do you interface with a 100Ghz device? (3, Interesting)

LM741N (258038) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015080)

Memory and/or processors running at 100Ghz sounds great, but how is such a chip going to be connected to the outside world of peripherals? Beams of light? Waveguides? Or will everything have to be contained on one chip?

Re:How do you interface with a 100Ghz device? (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015512)

I/O should never happen at the same speed as the processor. It has to be this way in order for the processor to actually process anything fast enough to keep up with whatever it's connected to.

So the answer to your question is: The same way it always has, through things like buffers and UARTS.

Re:How do you interface with a 100Ghz device? (1)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018082)

entwined pairs [arxiv.org] of course! duh!

Re:How do you interface with a 100Ghz device? (1)

WhoBeDaPlaya (984958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018254)

Not to mention that whatever you interface it to has to be incredibly broadband. To achieve the edge-times on those 100GHz square pulses, you'd need a hell a lot of harmonics.

And flying cars too? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015092)

I dont doubt it might be cool technology, but 2-3 years isnt too realistic...

Pronunciation: bistable rotaxanes (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015112)

Thank you for the link to the Wikipedia article on rotaxanes.

The name, rotaxane, is derived from the Latin for wheel (rota) and axle (axis).

Ah, so I must have been incorrect in initially parsing it as being pronounced with a silent- or H-like X. Am I the only one to read it that way?

It also took me a moment to parse "bistable" as "bi-stable" instead of "bis-table". (Don't tell me it should be "bist-able".)

Re:Pronunciation: bistable rotaxanes (2, Funny)

Rethcir (680121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015348)

Rotaxaaaaane! You don't have to put on the red light!

Slightly OT (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016216)

This is a growing problem. Far too many terms are being introduced with uncertain pronunciation, and the initiators really should provide phonetics. (It's interesting that even the NATO/ITU alphabet needs phonetic explanation because it uses words like "Charlie" and "Whiskey")

Apart from Linux (Linnux? Leenux? Lie-nux?) there are the old saws of schoolteachers - words like periodate, unionised, benzoyl - and even simple looking words like "kilometre" - kilo-metre or kilom-eter?

Rotaxane?!? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015122)

Wasn't that the song The Police played to open the Grammys? Damn, those guys were years ahead of their time!

Double walled only. (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015742)

This model is double walled nanotube only, any body know any method to grow specifically double walled carbon nanotubes?

carbon nanotubes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016202)

i don't know if this is what they mean by "carbon nanotubes", but this is what i know:
if we speek about C84, in 2004 were produced 3.5 kg. price 2000 euros/gramm
in 2003 in all_the_world were produced 1500kg of C60, and in 2004 something like 3000kg. they price actually is 20 euros/gramm
and there are 4 major companies producing this, 3 in the USA, 1 in Japan.

carbon nanotubes are great tecnology, but i still think is sonehow expensive... guess we'll have to wait more for mass-production.

Re:carbon nanotubes? (1)

daverabbitz (468967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18019192)

Damn, I've snorted coke cheaper than that.

-Actually no, I haven't snorted coke at all, but it makes for a good joke

Monty Python reference (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016322)

What part of 'This finding leads to a promising potential to build ultrafast high-density nonvolatile memory, up to 100 gigahertz or into the terahertz range" and a prototype could be demonstrated "in the next two to three years".' reminds me of the Monty Python comment in a spoof ad that "up to" includes zero?

When a paper is as full of weasel words as this one, reach for your Dilbert collection.

UC Riverside? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016462)

Wait, so good things come out of UC Riverside...sounds suspect to me...

Of course! (0, Redundant)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018026)


    Just like that holographic storage that was going to replace hard drives "in 2-3 years"... almost a decade ago.

    That's not to say that this *won't* happen, just that it's yet another "We're going to change the world in a few years!" idea, which should really be a "We'll wake you up if anything ever becomes of this." sort of message.

direct/random/sequential access? (1)

Major Disaster, here (880536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18018080)

Did noone else notice that TFA referred to hard disks as "sequential access"? I thought that was tape...

Nanotechnology! AWESOME! (1)

InadequateCamel (515839) | more than 7 years ago | (#18020384)

Wow. It's been a long time since I've read an abstract with that little information in it. What a vapid piece of fucking trash. I'm sure that the next paper out of that research group will be "Telescoping carbon nanotube (CNT) space elevators in 3-5 years".

No data. No numbers. No quantification, no discussion of advantages or difficulties with the technology. No discussion of the fact that it is quite frigging difficult to get relatively defect-free nanotubes in any sort of practical volume. Something tells me that Y-branched nanotubes will not work all that well in a telescoping system... /cue cries of Niche market! Tech will catch up in a year or so! Supply and demand!

Whatever. There's been a BIG demand for nanotubes for a very long time, and we are now realising the physical impacts of the fact that no reaction goes to 100% completion: a site defect that only occurs 0.01% of the time occurs in every 10,000 sites, and this is simply unacceptable for a material that is supposed to save the world.

Fuck "nanotechnology". /end angry_chemist_rant

Cheers!

Don't hold your breath. (1)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18021834)

It's one thing to make one of them. Economically making arrays containing enough working components to provide commercially viable products is another thing altogether.
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