At the SC '07, nanotechnology start-up Nantero demonstrated a prototype NRAM (Non Volatile Random Access Memory)-based memory that could result in nanotechnology-based memory debuting as early as 2010.
Nantero's approach to making the NRAM gear starts with carbon nanotubes bought from a variety of suppliers. The company works to remove the numerous impurities present in the nanotubes via a proprietary process where the nanotubes are suspended in a solution.
The cleansed nanotubes are then arranged in two layers where a bed of parallel nanotube rows sits in silicon with another set of perpendicular nanotube rows above it. To get 1s and 0s, Nantero puts the carbon tube molecules in and out of contact with each other by pumping in an electrical charge that makes the tubes bend via van der Waals forces.
Nantero hopes to monetize its invention by licensing its intellectual property to fabrication suppliers. NRAM has the prospect of replacing magnetic hard drives and flash memory as we know them.
Greg Schmergel, CEO and co-founder of Nantero, said at the time: "A printable NRAM memory could be deposited on flexible substrates to enable very low cost RFID tags."
We might see the introduction of devices using NRAM chips in 2010, possibly earlier.
But NRAM is not the only future prospect for nano-scale memories. Researchers at IBM are hard at work on MRAM (Magnetic Random Access Memory), which seeks to miniaturize the disk drive and the computer chip into one unit (AFP).