A new type of memory is being trialled by researchers at the Taiwan National Nano Device Laboratories and University of California, Berkeley, that is able to write and erase data at 100 times the rate of current generation flash memory.
Described as "ultrafast metal-gate silicon quantum-dot (Si-QD) non-volatile memory (NVM)," it's made up of a 3nm in diameter layer of silicon nanodots. When combined with a metallic controller layer it is essentially, a storage medium. A precise laser is used to charge or remove charge from the dots, making each of them the equivalent of a single bit.
Portable storage and solid state drives have seen big jumps in speed and papacity in recent years thanks to advances in flash. Suddenly making a jump to 100 times the current rate would certainly cause bottlenecks somewhere along the line.
One of the researchers from the Taiwanese research centre has been speaking about the development: "Our system uses numerous, discrete silicon nanodots for charge storage and removal. These charges can enter (data write) and leave (data erase) the numerous discrete nanodots in a quick and simple way. The materials and the processes used for the devices are also compatible with current main-stream integrated circuit technologies."
The fact that contemporary computing could make use of the nanodots as it currently is, is quite an exciting idea.