Interfacing Functional Nanocomposites for Non-Volatile Memory Devices

Lead Research Organisation: University of Central Lancashire
Department Name: Sch of Comput Engin and Physical Sci


The continuous demand for device miniaturization poses technological and economic barriers that cannot be answered by current fabrication techniques. This proposal is aimed at the development of a simple technique for the fabrication of crossbar electrode arrays for non-volatile memory devices based on a modulated block copolymer/nanoparticle (BCP/NP) assembly approach, where the ability to control the interfacial interactions between the NPs and the BCP domains under an electric field is crucial for obtaining the desired structure. Through a tight collaboration between experimental chemists, theoreticians, and an electrical engineer we intend to unravel the fundamental behavior ofBCP/NP assembly under the influence of a directing electric field, and then to utilize the structures formed for the creation of an ultrahigh-density, multi-component memory device.


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Description The MEMORY project involved an interdisciplinary collaboration between theoreticians and experimentalists from 4 countries. Main idea was: Creating oriented arrays of conductive nanowires as components in a memory device fabricated with non-lithographic means. Our Methodology was: Assembling nanoparticles with block copolymers in thin films under the application of an electric field. Main outcomes: Developing fundamental understanding of interfacing functional nanoparticles and block copolymers under electric fields. Development of new experimental and theoretical knowledge; formation of new collaborative ties, which persist after the termination of this project; training young scientists in all groups. In particular, UK partner using computer simulations discovered enhanced reorientation kinetics of block copolymers due to a new selective-disordering (SD) mechanism of electric-field induced reorientation. Based on the computational predictions, existing experimental data in the Aachen group of Böker was revisited and SD was indeed confirmed close to the order-to-disorder transition (ODT), in spite of earlier theoretical predictions that ruled any observable effect out. Moreover, an immersed boundary approach, i.e. a flexible hybrid model for mixtures of concentration fields and particles, was developed and implemented into a computer code using cell dynamics simulation as a precursor.
Exploitation Route If the results will be extended in an industrial R&D, that can put to the market new type of cheap memory devises to be used in storing packaging information of standard consumer products without having access to a central computer database. The results can help to develop a simple and robust process for the fabrication of ultra-high density non-volatile memory (NVM) devices based on the crossbar geometry. The fundamental understanding of relevant self-assembly processes in nano-structured materials performed under different conditions can further be extended in a more industrial research in order to develop a direct application.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)