One of the gateways to low-cost wearable Health Tech devices is printed electronics. It’s not enough to just print electrodes and conductive substrates; we need to be able to print the logical components required to perform the digital electronic functions required to create functioning devices. And one of the components required for a digital electronic device is memory.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia may have the answer. They have created nano-scale ceramic cubes that can be used to store digital information. The cubes are only 10 nanometers thick; a stack of 7,000 of them would be about as thick as a human hair. By applying an electrical current to a cube, you can change its state (resistive or conductive) to represent a binary bit of data. They could be used to create memory devices that use less power and perform faster than FLASH memory or mechanical hard drives.

The cubes have the convenient property of self-aligning; when place in a solution and printed by an ink jet printer, the cubes line up in neat rows and columns. Additional cubes align themselves in a stacked layer above the first layer. By creating multiple layers, you could theoretically create a memory device the size of a postage stamp that contains more than 2 trillion cubes. And the resulting device is transparent, which means it could be used on displays. In addition to ink jet printing, these memory nano-cube inks could also be adapted to roll-to-roll printing for high speed, low-cost fabrication of the devices.