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Self-healing nand flash can survive 100million cycles

Self-healing nand flash can survive 100million cycles

Researchers in Taiwan have found a way to 'heal' nand flash memory modules to make them last 100million cycles.

The team, from electronics firm Macronix, made the breakthrough by redesigning the chips to put a heater alongside the memory material that holds the data.

For this they borrowed a solution from a competing technology, phase change ram (PCRAM). In PCRAM, a bit is stored in a material called a chalcogenide glass, which can be either conductive or insulating.
The bit's material switches between those states when briefly heated in a particular way.

The researchers noticed that heating the glass to its melting point had a kind of healing effect on the PCRAM modules, and figured a similar technique would work for flash.

As such, they altered the gate electrodes so that the device could carry current to heat the memory cells. They then added into the mix a number of diodes.

According to researcher Hang Ting Lue, it was this modified structure that enabled current to pass through the transistor's gate to generate pulses of heat about 800°C, returning damaged memory locations to full working order.

Laura Hopperton

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