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Resistive ram technology to replace NAND?

US start up Crossbar has unveiled a scalable non volatile memory technology which it says will be capable of storing up to 1Tbyte of data on a 200mm2 chip.

The company also says it has developed a working Crossbar memory array at a commercial fab.

"Non volatile memory is ubiquitous today," said George Minassian, Crossbar's ceo, "and yet today's non volatile memory technologies are running out of steam, hitting significant barriers as they scale to smaller manufacturing processes.

"We have achieved all the major technical milestones that prove our technology is easy to manufacture and ready for commercialisation. It's a watershed moment for the non volatile memory industry."

The Crossbar memory cell – which uses a resistive ram (RRAM) approach – is based on three layers: a non metallic bottom electrode; an amorphous silicon switching medium; and a metallic top electrode.

The resistance switching mechanism is based on the formation of a filament in the switching material when a voltage is applied between the two electrodes. The memory cell structure is said by Crossbar to enable a new class of RRAM. It adds the technology can be incorporated into the back end processes of standard cmos fabs.

The three layer structure also allows for 3d stacking. Crossbar claims the technology can be used beyond the 5nm node.

The company says it can also outperform NAND flash significantly. It claims 20x faster write performance, 20x lower power consumption and 10x the endurance from a smaller die.

Having transferred the technology to an R&D fab, Crossbar has now developed a demonstration product in a commercial fab. This working silicon is a fully integrated monolithic cmos controller and memory array chip.

Graham Pitcher

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