China’s New Memory Chip Leads Hardware Revolution

Scientists in Shanghai invented a brand new type of computer memory that is both fast and durable, solving the trouble of previous types which can only maintain one of the two characteristics.


The research paper was published by science journal Nature Nanotechnology on Monday.


Memory is the chips in computers and phones that hold our photos and running apps.


The memories we use today can be roughly divided into two types. One is fast but would “forget” all the data when unpluged, which we call RAM. Another is relatively slow but can hold our photos for years, named ROM.


RAM can be considered as the table for our computers to do the jobs, while ROM is the library that keeps all our data.


Until now. The scientists in Shanghai-based Fudan University found a third type of memory, which is fast like RAM and durable like ROM.


Professor Zhang Wei and Zhou Peng led a team that made the discovery. They both work for the State Key Laboratory of ASIC and System, a lab in funded by the Chinese government.


Zhang told China Daily that the new tech has another feature: You can specify how long it holds the information.


“People in the future may receive a disc in which the data is only effective for, say, three days, which elevates the security of the information,” said Zhang.


“People can also have tailor-made flash drives with the new storage technology. The data stored inside will be regularly emptied at an appointed time.”


When the technology is applied to consumer market, the concept of RAM and ROM may become obsolete, and the hardware structure of our computers and phones may be revolutionized.


It’s still unknown how long we are from mass-produced goods.