Xiaoqing Pan and co-workers, University of Michigan, USA, have found a way to improve the performance of ferroelectric materials. These materials have the potential to make memory devices with more storage capacity than magnetic hard drives and faster write speed and longer lifetimes than flash memory.
Ferroelectric materials store data in small regions which switch polarization on application of an electric charge. The material the team has developed provides natural budding sites for the polarization switching and thus reduces the power needed to flip each bit. It does this by spontaneously forming nano-size spirals, or vortex nanodomain arrays, which can be electrically polarized at controllable intervals. The vortex domains were shown to be near the interface of the ferroelectric BiFeO3 thin film and the insulating TbScO3 substrate.
- Spontaneous Vortex Nanodomain Arrays at Ferroelectric Heterointerfaces
C. T. Nelson, B. Winchester, Y. Zhang, S.-J. Kim, A. Melville et al.,
Nano Lett. 2011, 11(2), 828–834.