Startup memory firm Crossbar has come out of stealth mode to disclose details of its Resistive RAM (RRAM) technology, which it expects to deliver up to a terabyte (TB) of data capacity on a single chip with up to 20x the performance of existing flash memory.
Crossbar's technology is based on a very simple memory cell structure, which is formed by a switching medium sandwiched between the crossbar junctions of electrodes arranged in a grid fashion. In this implementation, nanoparticles within the switching medium form a conduction path between the top and bottom electrodes, which can be broken or reset by the application of a voltage to store bits.
Crossbar claims that its technology will deliver 20x faster write performance, 20x lower power consumption, and 10x the endurance at half the die size of today's best Nand flash memory components.
However, the firm has not disclosed a date for when the first RRAM devices are set to ship. It has in fact only demonstrated a working Crossbar memory array at a commercial fab, as a proof of concept before bringing the technology to market.
In a statement, the company said it plans to market standalone chips optimised for both code and data storage, to be used in place of traditional Nand and Nor Flash memories. Crossbar also said it will license its technology to system-on-a-chip (SoC) developers for integration into next-generation devices.
Crossbar chief executive George Minassian hailed the announcement as a watershed moment for the non-volatile memory industry.
"With our working Crossbar array, we have achieved all the major technical milestones that prove our RRAM technology is easy to manufacture and ready for commercialisation," he said.
Another attribute of Crossbar's technology is that the simple three-layer structure enables it to be stacked in 3D layers, allowing for multiple terabytes of storage on a single chip.
But if Crossbar takes too long to bring the technology to market, it may find its advantages have been eroded by developments in rival technologies. Samsung this week announced it is already mass producing its 3D Nand chips, which it plans to scale up to a terabit (Tb) per chip in future.
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