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Japanese at the Helm of Chip Technology

Build World’s First No-Power Memory Chip
Friday, December 16th, 2011
japanese chip

Technology and innovation are synonymous with Japan. This June saw NEC Corporation (NEC), in association with Tohoku University, announce the development of the first ever memory chip which can be addressed by its memory directly. The Content Addressable Memory (CAM) can process and store data on a circuit even when the power supply is off. Additionally, these chips are fast and as non-volatile as existing circuits.

CAM Technology Development Principles

NEC has used Spintronics Logic in developing the CAM chip. In the this chip, the electronic negativity combines with the spin magnetic moment utilizing vertical magnetization to store data on the circuit without the need for power. This is pathbreaking technology, as existing Integrated Circuit Technology (ICT) equipment requires power supply for data storage in the memory itself.

NEC’s “Spintronics nonvolatile function technology” was developed as part of its NEDO capabilities and has been appropriately modified to include logic integrated circuits. This technology lowers the number of writing switches per element; data retrieval in CAM is on par, if not faster than, the CMOS-based speed of 5 ns consuming 9.4mW power.

Advantages and Applications of CAM Technology

Technically speaking, CAM is a circuit that enables data retrieval at exceptional speeds, because it uses a combination of memory circuits and comparison circuits. Up until now, data retrieval was accomplished only by looking for addresses in the memory parts. CAMs will now allow astonishing data retrieval speeds, and this technology is soon to revolutionize electronic components power consumption features; as when using CAM, instant start and zeroelectricity consumption in standby mode can be achieved.

In terms of energy consumption, CAMS offers a minimized footprint, as it needs less than half the circuit area of a conventional circuit. This is because the vertical domain wall-element connection placing is in series as the reading-writing current routing is redirected. Secondly, by sharing transistors, the number of transistors is reduced from eight to three transistors for every pair of cells, resulting in a fifty percent area reduction in CAM chips.

Major Beneficiary is Cloud Computing

With the paradigm, shifting from internet technology to cloud computing technology, there is an increase in the number of ICT-based equipment, which has resulted in greater consumption of power.

Several other hardware segments presently using ICT equipment are likely to benefit once CAM technology begins to be used more extensively.

National Mission Behind Successful Development of CAM

The aim at NEC is to develop particles which are non-volatile, and which will thereby consume less power while offering more functionability. Tohoku University evolved a simulation technology for circuit diagram for spintronic particles. Parallel technologies were designed for massive Integrated Circuitry involving the use of advanced logic for spintronic-based integrated circuits.

It is expected that NEC and Tohoku University’s co-operation will continue to drive further research and developments in chip technology. The journey so far in this technology has been largely driven by a national-level initiative adopted by Japan to improve its prowess in advanced technologies.

The project concentrates on researchbased development of competitiveness in cutting-edge technologies. NEC’s association with the first ever memory chip that stores data without power is another first in its long-list of cutting-edge technology components. Expectations continue to ride high on NEC to deliver on newer technologies in the future.

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