Technology developed to make memory devices with chitosan from crab shells

An electron microscope image of silica (grey) coated on the surface of gold nano-particles (black). A silica shell with a similar thickness is formed on each of the gold nano-particles.
An electron microscope image of silica (grey) coated on the surface of gold nano-particles (black). A silica shell with a similar thickness is formed on each of the gold nano-particles.

A Korean research team has successfully developed a technology to produce memory devices using chitosan extracted from crab shells. This technique is expected to be usable when making memory devices for eco-friendly and bio-friendly electronic equipment in the future. ​Lee Jang-sik, professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), announced on Jan. 12 that his research team has succeeded in developing bio-friendly memory devices based on chitosan extracted from the shell of crustaceans like crabs or shrimp.

The newly-developed chitosan-based device can satisfy the product performance necessary for memory devices in terms of durability and the ability to store information. In particular, the device uses by-products of seafood, and thus it is not expensive to manufacture.

Most of all, the new memory device is likely to be utilized in many areas, since it can be attached to or inserted in the skin, unlike existing silicon devices. Therefore, it could be used in the medical engineering area to make next-generation capsule-type endoscopes, artificial muscles, artificial organs, and patch-type electronic devices.

For full article, see KoreaBusiness.

SK Hynix producing slimmer NAND

S2013_11_NANDflashK Hynix announced yesterday it has started to mass produce an enhanced version of the world’s thinnest NAND flash memory chip. The company developed the 16-nanometer, 64GB multilevel cell NAND flash chip in the first half of the year.

The new version, which is 10 percent thinner, went into production last month, the company said yesterday, adding that production of the initial version of the chip began in June. It is the first company in the world to mass produce the 16-nanometer 64G MLC NAND flash chip. Micron Semiconductor of the United States said it developed the chip in June.

The Korean company, which is the world’s second-largest company in the overall computer memory chip market, also said yesterday it has developed a 128GB MLC chip, the highest capacity so far. The company plans to start producing the chip next year.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Korean scientists develop flexible memory device

A group of South Korean scientists has developed a new transparent and highly flexible memory device using graphene electrodes that may help develop a new, more flexible semiconductor or display panel, the science ministry said Wednesday.

Currently, graphene is used only for the top electrode of monolayers in various products, giving them some flexibility, according to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. The team from Seoul’s Sungkyunkwan University, however, was able to use graphene for both the top and bottom electrodes of a monolayer for the first time in the world. The use of graphene for the bottom electrode was made possible through a chemical union of the bottom electrode with the molecular film of organic molecules placed between the two electrodes, the team said.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

Government and firms to jointly invest in independent memory chip research

The government and six private companies will jointly invest in research and development (R&D) of new technologies by a third party, the commerce ministry said Thursday. An investment agreement was signed Thursday between the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and six private firms, including the world’s largest memory chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix.

Under the agreement, the government and the six companies will jointly invest 25 billion won (US$22.27 million) over the next five years in R&D projects by universities or other independent institutes to develop new materials or technology for memory chips. The program will be the first of its kind as previous arrangements for joint R&D investment mostly entailed government support for R&D activities by the firms themselves.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

DNA based semiconductor technology developed

Professor Park Hyun Gyu’s research team from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST has successfully implemented all logic gates using DNA, a feat that led the research to be published as the cover paper for the international nanotechnology paper Small.

For this research, the team used the specific binding properties of DNA, which forms its helix-shape, and a circular molecular beacon that has fluorescent signaling properties under structural changes. The research team used input signals to open and close the circular DNA, the same principle that is applied to logic gates in digital circuits. The output signal was measured using the increase and decrease of the fluorescent signal from the molecular beacon due to the opening and closing of the circular DNA respectively.

The team overcame the limited system problems of the existing logic gates and managed to implement all 8 logic gates (AND, OR, XOR, INHIBIT, NAND, NOR, XNOR, IMPlCATION). A multilevel circuit that connects different logic gates was also tested to show its regenerative properties.

For full article see KAIST.

Samsung announces the production of the world’s fastest memory storage

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chip maker, announces that it has already cranked up assembling 64 gigabyte eMMC(embedded Multi Media Card), an internal storage for a Smartphone, starting last month.

The world’s fastest “64GB eMMC Pro Class 1500” is based on a 20 nanometer (nm) class process technology, 64GB, Toggle DDR 2.0, and strictly follows the international standard JEDEC’s size of eMMC 4.5.

Introducing “32GB eMMC PRO” this past May, Samsung Electronics with its recent release has become the largest eMMC manufacturing unit in the market.

64GB eMMC Pro reads at 1500 IOPS, 4 times faster than existing eMMC 4.41 at 400 IOPS (Input and outputs per second). Later this year, it will be applicable to next-generation smartphones and tablet PCs, enabling people to watch HD (High-Definition) and 3D contents.

For full article see Korea IT Times.

Samsung to invest $3.4 billion in new chip line

Samsung Electronics plans to invest some 4 trillion won (about $3.4 billion) to build a new chip plant in Hawseong, Gyeonggi Province, where its key chip lines are located, Samsung officials said, Friday. The new line, the 17th, will start commercial operation within the first half of 2014.

Samsung, however, is highly likely to skip the groundbreaking ceremony for the plant, the officials said. The latest factory-building plan is a part of this year’s 15 trillion won investment plan in chips by Samsung, the officials said.The new line will only produce profitable non-memory and foundry chips, according to the officials.

Samsung is also planning to switch some of its existing memory chip-producing lines into non-memory chips, though the company declined to confirm.

For full article see Korea Times.

Korea’s smart meters could cut electricity consumption

South Korea’s plan to install smart meters in half the country’s households by 2016 could cut electricity consumption equivalent to the cost of one nuclear power plant.

“We want to make the utility industry intelligent and efficient,” said Choi Kyu-chong, director of the Smart Grid & Electricity Market Division of the Knowledge Economy Ministry. South Korea expects it will be able to save the cost of building a reactor by 2016 by helping households and utilities to manage electricity consumption through the meters, he said.

The country is investing in smart meters amid opposition from citizens and political parties over plans to expand its reliance on nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster last year in Japan. State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. also known as KEPCO, has awarded contracts to companies including LS Industrial Systems Co., Iljin Electric Co. and Nuri Telecom Co. to install the meters from a program that has won a 1.47 trillion won ($1.3 billion) commitment from the government.

For full article see Korea Herald.