Inkjet-printed memory made from gold

Flexible storage almost ready for prime time

RFID chip

Using inkjet technology for creating not just photographs and A4 prints, but physical objects is not a new idea, but the notion of printing computer memory in that way is certainly novel.

Japan's Nissan Chemical Industries has developed a way to print memory from an inkjet device that uses nanoparticle-sized gold dust and polystyrene.

Printed components

To make it work in an electronic circuit, Nissan Chemical has also managed to print tiny transistors that connect to relatively conventional electrodes in devices like IC tags.

The resulting memory can be incorporated in just about anything, such as product packaging, making it an ideal replacement for the silicon-based memory in RFID chips. The researchers say that it's also just 10 per cent the cost of silicon memory.

Coming soon

Early prototypes have a problem with low data density – just 2.5kbits per square centimeter at the minute – but Nissan Chemical says it will improve that in time for commercialization by 2011.