Intel has announced a new technique that allows them to effectively double the storage capacity of a single phase-change memory cell without adding cost to the current fabrication process. "Phase-change memory differs from other solid-state memory technologies such as flash and random-access memory because it doesn't use electrons to store data. Instead, it relies on the material's own arrangement of atoms, known as its physical state. Previously, phase-change memory was designed to take advantage of only two states: one in which atoms are loosely organized (amorphous), and another where they are rigidly structured (crystalline). But in a paper presented at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, researchers illustrated that there are two more distinct states that fall between amorphous and crystalline, and that these states can be used to store data."
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