UVic discovery could lead to faster, more durable and energy-efficient micro-processors



A breakthrough that could change the way everything from our cars to our cell phones work has been discovered at the University of Victoria. 

A Vancouver Island chemist has invented a breakthrough material that will make computers and smartphones faster, more durable and more energy-efficient.

Vancouver Island chemist Natia Frank says it will allow more data to be stored on a cellphone or a computer and they will be even thinner than they are now. "We've developed a material that uses light, which is the fastest way to transmit information to change the magnetic properties of the material."

Frank says current devices use about 10 percent of the world’s total electricity, LI-RAM, short for Light-induced RAM, would cut that energy consumption in half.

It could also be used in any device that uses a chip processor. "People have not had access to this type of material ever, so there are lots of different things that can be done with it. It can be used for MRI imaging and other sensors. The whole digital economy uses S-Ram to process data if we can combine it with long term data storage we can store and process data on the same chip and it can be used in every single type of electronic chip currently on the market."

The University of Victoria materials scientist developed the item as part of an international effort to reduce the power consumption and heat produced by modern computer processors.

Frank is working with some of the big international chip processor manufacturers to bring the technology to market which could take another 10 years. 

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