Excessive moisture can typically wreak havoc on electronic devices, but now researchers have demonstrated that a little water can help create ultra-dense storage systems for computers and electronics. A team of experimentalists and theorists at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and Harvard University has proposed a new and surprisingly effective means of stabilizing and controlling ferroelectricity in nanostructures: terminating their surfaces with fragments of water. Ferroelectrics are technologically important “smart” materials for many applications because they have local dipoles, which can switch up and down to encode and store information. The team’s work is reported in the April issue of Nano Letters.
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