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Transparent Memory Created for Transparent Smart Phones of the Future

It’s no news that nearly everyone is staring into a smart phone these days. As companies release a stream of innovative new products, they compete by offering large screens, aesthetic designs, and powerful functions. But, in the future they may need to compete in terms of the transparency of their devices. While making handheld devices transparent is a recent trend and drawing a lot of attention in the industry, there is still a crucial need to design and optimize the internal components to make the entire device transparent.

Prof. Jr-Hau He of the Graduate Institute of Photonics and Optoelectronics and Department of Electrical Engineering led an inter-university team of researchers from NTU and National Tsing Hua University in producing the first fully-transparent non-volatile memory component that relies on the pairing of the two-dimensional material graphene with an oxide. This kind of memory device is not only highly transparent, it operates reliably in different environments, which takes us a step closer to realizing the dream of fullytransparent smart phones.

The crucial breakthrough of He’s research is the environmental stability of his memory component. Although current memory components go through the stages of processing, packaging, and testing, they often don’t operate stably, which deteriorates overall performance, when they are exposed to changes in the external environment.

Moreover, steady advances in the development of transparent integrated circuits means an entire smart phone will sometimes be exposed directly to light pollution and radiation, which will present many as yet unknown variables and issues regarding the impact of transparency on the operational stability of the memory component. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a memory component that is both transparent and functions stably in various environments. This is necessary for the development of the transparent smart phones of the future.

Graphene is a two-dimensional material that is widely used in both basic science and commercial applications due to its outstanding mechanical and structural properties, its electrical conductivity, its transparency, as well as its flexibility. Therefore, in developing this novel fullytransparent memory component, Prof. He’s research team used graphene thin film in a standard memory component to suppress the impact of the environment on the memory component. This type of memory component features low power consumption, low production cost, high performance, as well as outstanding environmental stability.

He’s technology shows great potential for applications in tablet computers, displays and even solar energy technology. The team is applying for a patent, and their research has been published in the Proceedings of the IEEE , marking the eighth time NTU has been the leading research unit of a PIEEE article.

Chinese version