The data from all those Instagram pictures you’re posting needs to be stored somewhere, and the increasing amount of digital information we’re all producing means we also need an increasing amount of energy just to store it all.
Now scientists have come up with a working example of what’s known as universal memory, a brand new type of electronic memory cell that combines the best elements of existing memory tech while minimising many of the drawbacks.
The memory cell demonstrated in this latest study was developed using a quantum mechanics approach, which was able to improve the energy efficiency of the system as electrons tunnel around it.
Modern-day computers, phones and data centres use two types of memory, broadly speaking. There’s the RAM (Random Access Memory) that keeps all your open apps and files in memory – it’s super-fast, and low in energy use, but everything it stores gets lost when the power is cut.