Skip to Content

Nano Memory

A nanowire device 100 times as dense as today’s memory chips.
March 1, 2007

Researchers at Caltech and the University of California, Los Angeles, have reached a new milestone in the effort to use individual molecules to store data, an approach that could dramatically shrink electronic circuitry. One hundred times as dense as today’s memory chips, the Caltech device is the largest-ever array of memory bits made of molecular switches, with 160,000 bits in all. In the device, information is stored in molecules called rotaxanes, each of which has two components. One is barbell shaped; the other is a ring of atoms that moves between two stations on the bar when a voltage is applied. Two perpendicular layers of 400 nanowires deliver the voltage, reading or writing information. It’s a big step forward from earlier prototype arrays of just a few thousand bits. “We thought that if we weren’t able to make something at this scale, people would say that this is just an academic exercise,” says James Heath, professor of chemistry at Caltech and one of the project’s researchers. He cautions, however, that “there are problems still. We’re not talking about technology that you would expect to come out tomorrow.”

Two layers of 400 nanowires (blue and gray areas) encode data on molecules where they cross. Red lines are electrodes.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Large language models can do jaw-dropping things. But nobody knows exactly why.

And that's a problem. Figuring it out is one of the biggest scientific puzzles of our time and a crucial step towards controlling more powerful future models.

The problem with plug-in hybrids? Their drivers.

Plug-in hybrids are often sold as a transition to EVs, but new data from Europe shows we’re still underestimating the emissions they produce.

Google DeepMind’s new generative model makes Super Mario–like games from scratch

Genie learns how to control games by watching hours and hours of video. It could help train next-gen robots too.

How scientists traced a mysterious covid case back to six toilets

When wastewater surveillance turns into a hunt for a single infected individual, the ethics get tricky.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.