In a recent news report in “Nature Materials,” Samsung Advanced Institute of Technologybased Korean researchers announced the creation of faster non-volatile Resistance RAM (ReRam) chips. With switching speeds of 10ns, and capabilities of close to a trillion read-write cycles, they are faster by a million times than the current flash chips. These will now pave the way to upgrade to flash memory cards. To understand this enormous electronic achievement, it is important to understand the technology of ReRAMs.
ReRam (Resistance Random Access Memory) chips are non-volatile and hence retain stored information even in the absence of power. Typically, ReRam substances are dielectric in nature and infusion of sufficient quantity of power converts it to a conductor. Using filaments (or metallic gates in electronic circuit parlance), signals are carried through the dielectric substance and data is stored and removed from the chip. The metallic filaments are used to carry out the signals through the dielectric substance in both directions. The filaments are gated where they are broken to allow the current to pass through or not.
Oxide-based resistance memory has successfully surpassed the specifications for device requirements. It has been demonstrated that TaOx-based asymmetric passive switching devices can be used as a localized resistance switching, which satisfies all re- quirements such as high density, switching speed, endurance, retention and, more im- portantly, power consumption.
The switching current drastically reduces the power consumption and results in ex- treme cycling endurances over 1012, which now offers exploration into possible appli- cations to the working memory along with the 10ns. This also allows possible applica- tions to the working memory space along with the 10ns switching times.
These ReRam chips are usually made of tantalum film (Ta2O5.), whereas the new research technology used in the new chips is based on the compound Ta2O5-X/TaO2-x. Filaments now are two-layered in structure and are not merely metal coated. These new chips consume less power and are excellent replacement for the current generation of flash memory devices.
The nature of conversion of chips from resistive to conductive phases – by using frequent jolts of electricity – and appropri ate increase in number of pathways and fila ments creates faster chips.
The new research technology introduces various filaments (gateways) and pathways so that a stupendous increase in the dissemination of information in using a single jolt of electricity is achieved.
As of yet, the research is still to be completed and will not be ready to go to the market for some time. To bring ReRam to commercial development, however, HP is collaborating with a Korean company, Hynix Semiconductor Inc., to offer this technology.
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