An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to change the polarization of the ferroelectric material: pressure. The results of this research could be applied to the world of electronics, according to its authors.

A study has a new phenomenon they have called: flexoelectricity. “We found a typewriter at the nanoscale: convert pressure information” tells SINC Gustau Catalan, a researcher at the Center for Research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CIN2), and one of the authors of this paper. Ferroelectric materials have two poles that are slightly apart and are analogous to the magnetic, one positive and one negative. This can represent a binary system of information and are used in memory devices, “If the positive and negative is above below is given the value 1, and if it is the reverse, 0” Catalan said.

Binary information generated by pressure

To change the polarization of a material commonly applied an electrical charge. But according to the results of new research, published in the journal Science, you can get the same effect by pressing a tip of atomic force microscope on the material.

The authors believe that this discovery may also have applications in the electronics world. The electrodes ‘write’ data in memory devices using electric shocks could be replaced by this pressure mechanism. “The ferroelectric memories are still not compatible with computers but the cards are used in underground Japan, for example, or in some consoles” indicates Catalan. He believes that eventually the computers could be combined with electronic ferroelectric memories, but for now each has its own application.

“One of the advantages of ferroelectric memories is that they are volatile and the information is not lost if there was a power failure,” says the researcher at CIN2 (joint CSIC and ICN, Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology).

In addition, developers believe that this discovery opens a wide range of possibilities to do research with modest means. As the ends of microscope used in this system are very small, the order of 10 nanometers, “using little force can be obtained enormous pressures,” concludes Catalan.