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Intel to sample 128Mbit phase change memory in 1H

Posted: 08 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flash memory? Intel? 90nm? phase change memory? chalcogenide?

Intel Corp. disclosed that it is preparing to sample a 90nm 128Mbit phase change memory in the first half of 2007. Mass production could begin before the end of 2007.

Brian Harrison, VP of flash memory group at Intel and Ed Doller, CTO of the flash memory group, revealed the move at a recent meeting for analysts and press.

Intel has been a licensee of chalcogenide-based phase change memory technology from Ovonyx Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices Inc. since about 2000 as it has researched the technology.

Last year, Intel and STMicroelectronics had teamed up their research on chalcogenide-based phase-change memory as a likely successor to flash as a non-volatile memory. Interest in phase-change memory is increasing as there are concerns that flash memory may struggle to scale. Qimonda AG, formerly the memory operation of Infineon Tecnologies AG, is researching a phase-change memory technology with IBM Corp. and Macronix of Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Doller told the meeting that the 128Mbit had demonstrated 100 million cycles endurance and much greater than 10 years data retention. "The phase change memory gets pretty close to Nirvana," Doller said. "It will start to displace some of the RAM in the system."

Doller added that the samples that would be going out to customers were designed to be a drop-in NOR flash replacement. "We're going to be using this to allow customers to get familiar with the technology and help us architect the next generation device," said Doller. "That dialog is happening right now," he added.

Doller added that the technology was showing good robustness against temperature: "We don't see any issue meeting industrial [temperature range]...".

When asked when the phase change memory would go into mass production Doller said: "We're hoping we can see production by the end of the year but that depends on the customers."

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe




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