Researchers have developed the ultimate flexible memory, one that can withstand nearly any deformation
In research described in the journal Advanced Materials, researchers from Tsinghua University have used a gallium-based liquid metal to achieve FlexRAM’s data writing-and-reading process. In an example of biomimicry, the gallium-based liquid metal (GLM) droplets undergo oxidation and reduction mechanisms while in a solution environment that mimics the hyperpolarization and depolarization of neurons.
“This breakthrough fundamentally changes traditional notions of flexible memory, offering a theoretical foundation and technical path for future soft intelligent robots, brain-machine interface systems, and wearable/implantable electronic devices.”
—Jing Liu, Tsinghua University
These positive and negative bias voltages define the writing of information “1” and “0,” respectively. When a low voltage is applied, the liquid metal is oxidized, corresponding to the high-resistance state of “1.” By reversing the voltage polarity, it returns the metal to its initial low-resistance state of “0.” This reversible switching process allows for the storage and erasure of data.
To showcase the reading and writing capabilities of FlexRAM, the researchers integrated it into a software-and-hardware setup. Through computer commands, they encoded a string of letters and numbers, represented in the form of 0s and 1s, onto an array of eight FlexRAM storage units, equivalent to 1 byte of data information. The digital signal from the computer underwent conversion into an analog signal using pulse-width modulation to precisely control the oxidation and reduction of the liquid metal.