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Intel Claims Memory Research Milestone

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Intel and Numonyx recently announced a breakthrough in computer memory research that they say could eventually result in a less expensive and better-performing alternative to existing memory technologies. The two companies have been collaborating on a type of non-volatile memory called phase-change memory (PCM), and report that they have successfully stacked multiple layers of PCM arrays within a single 64-Mbit die. By creating a vertically integrated memory cell composed of PCM and an ovonic threshold switch, the researchers demonstrated that it is possible to use the technologies to create chips that cost less and offer better performance and memory densities than traditional NAND flash memory.

PCM could provide a better alternative to NAND because it uses significantly less voltage. While NAND uses an electrical charge to store and read memory, PCM uses heat on chalcogenide glass, the same material used in re-writable optical media. Lower voltage use enables PCM to store more memory in a single die while using less power, and at a smaller scale than is possible with NAND.

Switching to PCM may require significant changes to production processes, however.

From Information Week
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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