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Intel, Micron talk memory tech

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MLC? NAND flash? 20nm process?

"As long as the insatiable thirst for memory exists, we will always continue to beat Moore's Law," said Ramin Ghodsi, Micron Technology Inc.'s senior director of NAND development, at UBM TechInsights' 10th annual Insight Awards. Micron and Intel Corp.'s 20nm NAND flash was awarded Semiconductor of the Year.

UBM selected Intel and Micron's joint development project to create 20 NAND flash technology as the project represented a big breakthrough in terms of storage for consumer and compute applications.

The high-capacity, multilevel cell (MLC) NAND made on the 20nm process is already in volume production and is ready to slot straight in to solid-state drives (SSDs),smartphones, tablets, computers, e-book readers and much more besides.

Micron and Intel's 20nm MLC NAND flash, manufactured by their IM Flash Technologies joint venture, was the first to be manufactured at the 20nm process node and further impressed by replacing the traditional silicon dioxide gate with a high-k dielectric, allowing for reduced cell leakage and low power consumption.

Glen Hawk, vice president of Micron's NAND solutions group, told EE Times that winning the award was "an incredible honor" and capped off what he felt to be one of the industry's best partnerships.

Intel and Micron

Intel and Micron representatives at UBM TechInsights' Insight Awards.

"I'm continuously astounded by what our two companies are able to achieve together," he said, noting that despite the differences in company cultures, the two worked very synergistically together, attaining "fantastic results."

Hawk himself, one of the product's "founding fathers" has been on both sides of the partnership, having moved from Intel to Micron after the first stages of brokering the initial cooperation between the two.

Rob Crooke, vice president and general manager from Intel's NVM solutions group, said that with Micron's tremendous knowledge on high volume memory manufacturing and Intel's expertise on materials, cell and process technology, the two had achieved something of a design dream team.

"We're confident that the technology we've created here scales into the future," he said, noting that the firms were already working on the next steps, after updating their mutual agreements, to expand into other technologies.

"We're not quite ready to talk about those technologies because they're still in research, but they will be based around both the future of NAND and some alternative technologies as well," he promised.

"We have a lot to offer in the years to come," added Hawk.

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