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STMicro Ovonic memory research enters product phase

Posted: 14 May 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ovonic unified memory? stmicroelectronics? embedded application? cmos?

The so-called Ovonic Unified Memory (OUM), a nonvolatile memory technology under investigation at STMicroelectronics NV is entering a product-oriented phase, according to Carlo Bozotti, corporate VP at STMicro and general manager of the memory product group.

"We are accelerating the effort on chalcogenide memory," Bozotti told Silicon Strategies "We are going to start designing a real product this quarter. It's also good for embedded applications as it is on a CMOS base," he added.

Ovonic Unified Memory (OUM) technology, also being explored by Intel Corp., attempts to exploit a reversible phase change between the amorphous and crystalline states that can be affected in chalcogenide alloys, typically an alloy of antimony telluride and germanium telluride.

The technology has been explored at Energy Conversion Devices Inc. for several decades. Ovonyx Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ECD set up to work with Intel and ST on OUM.

ST is expected to present preliminary research results obtained with Ovonyx in a paper on a CMOS-compatible trench-based memory cell at the VLSI Technology and Circuits Symposia next month in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Bozotti said that although the next chalcogenide-memory design would be based on an established large-scale memory product, rather than test cells and circuits, it would still be a research vehicle. He added it could take the rest of the year to complete the design. Another design would probably be undertaken for a device to be produced as an engineering sample for ST's customers, possibly sometime in 2005.

"There's still a lot of reliability testing and a lot of endurance cycling to be done, but the research is entering a new phase," Bozotti concluded.

- Peter Clarke

Silicon Strategies

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