Slovenian scientists developed world’s fastest supercomputer memory

The world's fastest memory element was developed by researchers from Ljubljana’s Institute Jožef Stefan. The element, which is 10 times faster than any previous solutions, was presented in May's issue of the Nature Communications journal.

Memory speed is the main constraint slowing down supercomputers, which we all use to while to browse Google, Amazon, eBay, etc. The technology developed by Ljubljana’s Institute Jožef Stefan’s researchers has a writing speed of just 40 picoseconds, which allows information to be stored 10-times faster than the previous top speed electrically driven memory element could manage.


The technology was developed in the institute's department of Complex Matter by a group led by Dragan Mihailović. In mid-May the group published an article entitled Fast electronic resistance switching involving hidden charge density wave states in the Nature Communications journal. Recently the group has been focusing much of its research on the unstable quantum states, with an emphasis on solutions usable in the future quantum computing.


The active part of the new memory element is a 50 nanometers thick crystal of tantalum disulphide, which is integrated in the special circuit using nanolitography. Interestingly enough, the laser direct imaging system nanolitographic used by IJS researchers was developed by a Slovenian subsidiary of the German LPKF Laser and Electronics company. LPKF Slovenia is based in Naklo near Kranj and concentrates on LPKF's electronic development equipment program.


The new memory element conveniently works at temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius, allowing for supercooling with liquid gasses: crucial for components used in supercomputers. The element is also usable at lower speeds and completely compatible with existing supercomputers.


The main contributors in the team from the IJS’s department of Complex Matter were Dragan Mihailović, Igor Vaskivskyi, Ian Mihailović and Damjan Svetin. The department focuses on areas such as High-temperature oxide superconductors, fullerenes and their derivatives, carbon and inorganic nanotubes and their derivatives and other correlated electron systems for optical switching in molecular systems, ultrafast quantum electronics and superconducting quantum computing.

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