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Elpida signs with Ovonyx for phase change memory

Posted: 07 Feb 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ovonyx? dram? ovonic universal memory? elpida?

Elpida Memory Inc. has licensed a potential DRAM replacement technology from Ovonyx Inc., a developer of a non-volatile phase-change memory technology, Ovonyx said Thursday (Feb. 3). The license agreement provides that Ovonyx will actively support a program to commercialize Ovonic Universal Memory (OUM) phase change memory products at Elpida.

Elpida joins Intel Corp. and STMicroelectronics NV in licensing the technology, which attempts to exploit a reversible phase change between the amorphous and crystalline states in chalcogenide alloys, typically an alloy of antimony telluride and germanium telluride.

The OUM can be used in applications such as DRAM replacements, as well as embedded applications in many product areas such as microcontrollers and reconfigurable MOS logic, Ovonyx said.

"Elpida plans to utilize Ovonyx' phase-change technology to further explore the development of new DRAM features that will provide the high performance and low current consumption required for next-generation mobile applications," said Yukio Sakamoto, president and chief executive officer of Elpida, in a statement.

However, the technology has thus far been slow to reach a commercial stage.

Intel announced a licensing deal with Ovonyx in Feb. 2000 but plans for Azalea Microelectronics Corp. to build a prototype 4Mbit ovonic unified memory for Intel have not worked out as yet. STMicroelectronics first announced plans to collaborate with Ovonyx Inc. in Dec. 2000 although the European chipmaker did say it was moving into a product-based phase of development in May 2004.

Ovonyx is itself a 1999 spin-off of the original discoverer of the chalcogenide memory effect, Energy Conversion Devices Inc. which has researched the technology for decades.

- Peter Clarke

Silicon Strategies

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