Quantum Dot Applications for Flash Memory, Semiconductor Lasers and Photodetectors

Computing & Wireless : Hardware

Available for non-exclusive licensing


  • Sanjay Banerjee, Ph.D. , Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Chuanbin Mao, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Shan Tang, Ph.D. , Microelectronics Research Center

Background/unmet need

The mobile electronic devices of the future will need lower voltage and power data storage capabilities to continue offering consumers increased functionality and extended battery life. Current non-volatile flash memory technology is reaching the limits of its ability to shrink down. A new approach is needed to keep pace with the technological evolution predicted by Moore’s Law.

Invention Description

Non-volatile flash memory technology can continue to scale down for lower voltage and/or power applications if new materials are used or new memory cell designs are adopted. This invention capitalizes on a combination of technologies. Primarily, a new gate design using a protein-templated array of quantum dots reduces failure rates. When combined with a new tunneling layer material, programmability is made easier without the traditional problems of data leakage. A new channel material and a new channel design also reduce the energy required for programming. The combined result is a new flash memory cell capable of fast programming under low voltage and/or low power operating conditions with a much lower failure rate.


  • Low voltage operation
  • Low power operation
  • Fast programming
  • Reliable


  • Enhanced gate current
  • Reduced leakage current
  • Reduced failure rate

Market potential/applications

Fast, on-demand data storage for low voltage, low power portable electronic devices such as cellular phones, PDAs, digital cameras, and MP3 players would benefit greatly from this technology. Image acquisition and semiconductor laser technologies would also benefit from the higher resolution that protein template quantum dot arrays can provide.

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status

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