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Partnership to enhance NAND flash architecture

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NAND flash? layer deposition? terabit?

Unity Semiconductor Corp. has teamed up with Applied Materials and Silvaco to create next-generation NAND flash architecture. The partnership intends to develop process technologies geared for terabit chips forecast to begin production by 2014.

Unity revised its architecture and business model last year when Dave Eggleston was named CEO. It seeks to deliver a three-fold density increase while creating no more than five new process steps for NAND fabs.

For one of those steps, Applied will help develop a process using its atomic layer deposition system. Unity's architecture calls for using atomic deposition at a high aspect ratio to deposit a novel conductor material up to 32 layers deep in a narrow vertical NAND structure. To date, atomic deposition has been done for insulators, not conductors and rarely at such a high aspect ratio.

For its part, Silvaco will provide simulation software combining data from traditional electronics sources as well as new ionic sources. The software could be available later this year.

Micron is helping Unity develop its other process steps as part of an existing partnership and investor relationship. Micron is currently the only licensee of the technology that Unity eventually aims to license widely.

The startup sees itself primarily as an IP licensing company. However, it still plans to get a minority of its business from selling chips of its own design, starting with a terabit flash chip that could act as a primary cache for enterprise systems. The terabit chip could have write speeds measured in hundreds of MB/s at costs below a dollar per gigabyte, noted Eggleston.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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