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Friday, January 15, 2010
Non-Volatile-Memories Take the Stage at ISSCC 2010


At ISSCC 2010, a record number of emerging nonvolatile memory technologies including Phase-Change Memory (PCM), Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM), and Resistive Ram (RRAM), will be reported.

Historically, such emerging technologies have been considered exotic ideas found only in academic research labs, and were not optimized for speed, density, or power efficiency. However, at ISSCC 2010, a number of leading semiconductor companies will present their commercialized versions, demonstrating unprecedented levels of speed, density, and power efficiency, all-the-while using state-of-art mainstream CMOS technologies.

Engineers from Numonyx will describe a 1Gb PCM developed in 45nm CMOS with a 37.5mm2 die size, and a 266MB/s read throughput that is well suited for an execute-in-place architecture. An industrial collaboration between STMicroelectronics and Numonyx will present a 4Mb embedded PCM developed in 90nm CMOS that delivers a 12ns read time that approaches the speed of conventional embedded DRAM and SRAM. This high-performance memory has the potential for widespread adoption in SoC applications requiring nonvolatile capabilities.

Toshiba will describe their development of a 64Mb MRAM that utilizes perpendicular tunnel-junction cells with the fastest- reported read time of 30ns, using a novel sensing scheme and architecture that allows almost unlimited read/write cycling. Toshiba will also describe a novel solution to achieve larger signal-to-noise ratios in chain FeRAM (Ferroelectric RAM) that will lead to higher memory capacity and increased speeds, allowing it to be used as cache memory in SSD (Solid-State Drives) applications.

Engineers from Unity Semiconductor will describe a lesser known Conductive-Metal-Oxide (CMOx) memory that reaches a never-before-seen capacity of 64Mb in 0.13μm CMOS. This technology can be pushed into the 64Gb regime in 45nm CMOS, using a multi-layer technique.that they propose, providing extremely low-cost and low-power solutions for storage applications.

This and other related topics will be discussed at length at ISSCC 2010, the foremost global forum for new developments in the integrated-circuit industry. ISSCC, the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, will be held on February 7-11, 2010, at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel.


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