Giant effect for little switch

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, report in Science how they have demonstrated giant intrinsic electroresistance in a conventional ferroelectric film for the first time. The discovery could open the way for new faster, smaller, and higher capacity computer memory and other devices. The challenge has always been to develop materials on the nanoscale with binary switching capacity. Now, ORNL's Peter Maksymovych and colleagues have opened a tiny door in the polar surface of ferroelectric materials that lets electrons in. "The size of this 'door' is less than one-millionth of an inch, and it is very likely taking only one-billionth of a second to open," explains Maksymovych. Making it a very small and very fast candidate for a binary switch.