IBM, Infineon and Macronix have kick-started a joint research initiative aiming to explore the potential of next-generation phase-change computer memory (PCM).
The technology stores data by changing the state of a special material from an amorphous to a crystalline structure, rather than as an electrical charge.
Although the firms conceded that development is in its early stages, they believe that PCM shows potential for high-speed, high-density storage, while retaining data even when power is turned off.
Such attributes could be beneficial in applications ranging from high-performance servers to consumer electronics.
IBM will contribute its research on fundamental materials and physics, while Infineon will assess the development and high volume manufacture of PCM chips. Macronix promised to share its experience in non-volatile memory technologies.
"The project will aim to develop the materials for high performance, advanced, non-volatile memory and evaluate those materials in realistic memory chip demonstrations," said T C Chen, vice president of science and technology at IBM Research.
Miin Wu, president and chief executive at Macronix, added: "We believe that our collective dedication on PCM will help to extend the non-volatile memory roadmap beyond the current floating gate, and open new market opportunities."
The research work will be conducted at IBM's T J Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, and the IBM Almaden Research Lab in San José, California. Around 25 employees from across the three companies will be dedicated to the project.
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