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Flexible Flash

Flash memory built on bendy plastic

4 min read

4 January 2010—Though flexible devices such as roll-up displays have been promised for several years, their commercialization has been stalled by a missing ingredient: a flexible form of flash memory. But researchers at the University of Tokyo have recently developed an organic, floating-gate nonvolatile memory that behaves like flash memory, which may solve that problem.

While silicon-based flash memory is fine for the mass data storage found in cellphones, digital music players, and thumb drives, fabricating it requires high processing temperatures, thus ruling out its production on flexible substrates like plastic. Organic semiconductors, however, can be processed at temperatures well below the melting point of most plastics.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

1 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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