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Data Storage Upgrades Technology

Researchers Create Graphite Memory 10 Atoms Thick 135

CWmike writes "Researchers at Rice University have demonstrated a new data storage medium made out of a layer of graphite only 10 atoms thick. The technology could potentially provide many times the capacity of current flash memory and withstand temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius and radiation that would make solid-state disk memory disintegrate. 'Though we grow it from the vapor phase, this material [graphene] is just like graphite in a pencil. You slide these right off the end of your pencil onto paper. If you were to place Scotch tape over it and pull up, you can sometimes pull up as small as one sheet of graphene. It is a little under 1 nanometer thick,' Professor James Tour said."
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Researchers Create Graphite Memory 10 Atoms Thick

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  • 10 Atoms thick? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:59PM (#26167415)

    As per wikipedia,

    Diameter range: 62 pm (He) to 520 pm (Cs) (data page)

    Atom @ Wikipedia []

    It seems that the "thickness" of an atom varies. I've never understood why it is used as a unit of measure.

  • Re:10 Atoms thick? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by treeves ( 963993 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @08:27PM (#26167665) Homepage Journal
    You'll notice from the data you found that they vary by less than one order of magnitude so it's still a useful approximate measure. Other "measurements" vary as well, for example "floors" to measure the height of a building, "blocks" to measure distance in a city or town, "car lengths" to measure tailgating, "gnat's asses"...oh never mind.
  • by NinthAgendaDotCom ( 1401899 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:11PM (#26168049) Homepage
    Interesting. That is how artificial diamonds are formed too... vapor forming around a diamond seed in a vacuum chamber.
  • Re:Graphene balloons (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oasisbob ( 460665 ) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @09:14PM (#26168069)

    I've worked with graphite before in a lab (we used it as a substrate for STM [].

    Using scotch tape to pull up layers of graphite must be a common technique: we used it too. There are many kinds of graphite. Using crystalline graphite (found in nature), you could use the tape to pull up a nice thin layer.

    Being around improvised solutions using common materials was one of my favorite things about lab work.

  • Re:10 Atoms thick? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @10:54PM (#26168665) Journal

    I too read TFA and it seems to me they are leaving out the most important part(unless I missed it, which is: How many read/writes can they get out of this before it is toast? Because it can be the smallest, toughest little chip in the world but if you only get a couple of dozen read/writes out of it before it is toast than it'll be pretty damned useless. current read/write for NAND flash is up to,what, 1 million? So at the very least they'll need to shoot for that, and if you want to use it in space exploration you will want that number even higher if you can get it, due to how many years those deep space probes can run.

    So does anybody here have any idea what kind of read/writes we could expect from this? How about cost? How difficult will it be to ramp up production? Because for this to truly unseat NAND flash and become "the next big thing" they'll have to be able to really crank this stuff out due to the myriad of uses we have today for flash. And while I can see how this would have plenty of uses I just don't see this taking out NAND flash in the consumer market anytime in the foreseeable future.

    Hell NAND flash already survives longer than the device is considered useful right now. I have a handful of 64MB to 256Mb flash drives in my drawer that have survived more abuse than a device ever should and I just gave away an old Lyra 256Mb MP3 player that survived many years of being dropped, chunked, and having tunes tossed and put on pretty constantly for years. Damned if the thing ain't still just purring along. So in the consumer space I just don't see the need as NAND flash is pretty hard to kill and dirt cheap now. But in aerospace I bet this will be a Godsend.

  • Re:10 Atoms thick? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elashish14 ( 1302231 ) <[profcalc4] [at] []> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @11:23PM (#26168857)
    Graphene is an array of sp2 hybridized carbon, meaning the HOMO is the pi bonding orbital, and the LUMO is the pi* orbital. The average electronic radius in the p orbital is a bit under 4 times the Bohr radius = 4*53 pm ~ 200 pm and it's safe to assume that the average distance of the pi bonding orbital is close. Since bonding must take place in the higher energy pi* orbital, it must be >>200pm. 1000pm sounds about right.

    The math isn't hard, but I have to take a shit so I can't do it right now.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham