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Organic Memory Gains Momentum

Hybrid prototypes promise to give conventional memory a run for the money

4 min read

Memory chips may one day rely on organic compounds to store information, just like that gray matter in your brain. In the past few months, several research groups reported promising organic memory prototypes--from devices that function as dynamic random-access memories (DRAMs) to high-capacity, nonrewritable storage media similar to CD-ROMs. Organics won't make your computer any more powerful, but because they don't require clean-room fabrication and endless rounds of photolithography to produce, they might make memory chips and other storage devices much easier to manufacture--and therefore much cheaper.

Organics enthusiasts hope to open a crack in the US $27 billion market for semiconductor memories. But their approach is not to offer all-organic devices. Instead, to ease the technology's adoption, they plan to mesh their materials with existing silicon processing technology.

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The Transistor at 75

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

2 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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