Engineers at EPFL have created a brand new pc chip that may each course of and retailer knowledge in the identical circuit. It’s made utilizing a two-dimensional materials known as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), paving the way in which for smaller and extra power environment friendly electronics.
Conventional computer systems course of knowledge in a single space – the CPU – then move it off to a different part, similar to a tough disk or strong state drive, for storage. This method has labored for us for many years, but it surely’s not essentially probably the most environment friendly approach to do issues.
For example, within the mind – probably the most highly effective pc on this planet – neurons have the flexibility to each course of and retailer info. Lately engineers have tried to mimic this functionality, creating chips with logic-in-memory structure, typically generally known as “memristors.” The thought is that with out the necessity to shuttle knowledge round a lot, we may make smaller and quicker units that chew up much less power.
The EPFL examine takes some new steps in direction of that purpose. The crew’s new logic-in-memory chip is the primary to be made with a 2D materials, comprising a single layer of MoS2 that’s simply three atoms thick. Not solely is that this materials’s extremely thinness excellent for shrinking units down, but it surely makes a fantastic semiconductor as nicely.
The brand new chip is what’s generally known as a floating-gate field-effect transistor (FGFET). Normally utilized in flash reminiscence methods, similar to SD playing cards, these transistors are good at retaining electrical prices for lengthy durations of time. MoS2 is especially delicate to those saved prices, permitting it to carry out each logic and reminiscence features.
“Our circuit design has a number of benefits,” says Andras Kis, lead writer of the examine. “It could possibly scale back the power loss related to transferring knowledge between reminiscence items and processors, lower the period of time wanted for computing operations and shrink the quantity of area required. That opens the door to units which might be smaller, extra highly effective and extra power environment friendly.”
The analysis was revealed within the journal Nature.