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Home > Press > Need for Smaller, High-speed, Ultra-high Density, Storage Devices Fostering Advances in Embedded Memories

Abstract:
Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c58259 ) has announced the addition of the Frost & Sullivan report: Advances in Embedded Memories to their offering.

Need for Smaller, High-speed, Ultra-high Density, Storage Devices Fostering Advances in Embedded Memories

DUBLIN, Ireland | Posted on May 29th, 2007

The Frost & Sullivan research service titled Advances in Embedded Memories provides details on advances in existing memory technologies and emerging memory technologies. The research analyzes the technology and market drivers, industry challenges, and trends, which affects the growth of the existing and emerging memories. It also includes a detailed study on future memory technologies and its potential application segment. In this research, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following technologies: embedded static random access memory (eSRAM), embedded dynamic RAM (eDRAM), embedded flash memory (eflash), magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM), ferroelectric RAM (FeRAM/FRAM), phase change memory (PCM/PRAM), carbon nanotube memory, molecular memory, polymer memory, and biomolecular memory.

The following technologies are covered in this research:

* Embedded Static Random Access Memory (eSRAM): eSRAM evolved to meet the increasing demand of system-on-a-chip (SoC) applications and ultralarge scale integration techniques. SoC requires high-density SRAM with the processor to execute the intended operation at high speeds. These memories are used in memory caches due to fast access speeds.
* Embedded DRAM (eDRAM): eDRAM is a capacitor-based DRAM integrated along with the logical unit of the chip or ASIC. Embedding DRAM with microprocessor or logical unit increases the versatility of a discrete DRAM device in three dimensional (3D) graphic platforms and cache memories. Embedded DRAM bridges the gap between high speed microprocessors/logical processors and slower memory devices.
* Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM): FRAM or FeRAM is a memory technology in which the switching occurs by the alteration of the polarization state of a ferroelectric material. FRAM switches very quickly and the switching time is of the order of a few nanoseconds.
* Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM): MRAM is a non-volatile memory (NVM) that holds data magnetically and therefore no power is required to sustain the data. Unlike other memory technologies, data is not stored as electric charge of current flows. The data in MRAM is stored by means of change in resistance of MRAM cells when their magnetic orientation is switched. Therefore the state of the bit in MRAM is detected as a change in resistance.
* Phase Change Memory (PCM): PCM functions based on the reversible phase change between amorphous and crystalline phases of chalcogenide materials. PCM utilizes the characteristics of chalcogenide materials, which can be switched between crystalline and amorphous states.

Technology Overview

Need for Smaller, High-speed, Ultra-high Density, Storage Devices Fostering Advances in Embedded Memories

The growing need for small sized, low cost, high-speed, low-power, ultra-high density storage devices motivate memory manufacturers to create innovations in the field of embedded memories. Existing memory solutions such as embedded static random access memory (eSRAM) embedded dynamic RAM (eDRAM) and embedded flash (eflash) memory increasingly face problems related to volatility, soft error rates, reliability, high voltage programming, endurance, and scalability below 45 nm. Such issues restrict the deployment of these memories in certain application segments. This, in turn, has led to the evolution of new non-volatile memory technologies such as magnetic, ferroelectric, phase change, carbon nanotube, and molecular memories. However, these memories have not reached the mass production stage and penetration into the existing memory market is likely to be the major challenge, affecting the market growth of these new memory technologies.

Furthermore, although emerging technologies such as ferroelectric RAM (FRAM), phase change RAM (PRAM) and magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) tend to capture the best performance characteristics of SRAM; DRAM, and flash, there remain issues relating to storage densities and scalability. "Each memory technology has its edge over the other in terms of performance, scalability, cost, and the range of applications that they can cater to," notes the analyst of this research service. "Ensuring the acceptance of memory devices in computers, and automotive sectors is a major challenge for the developers of MRAM and PRAM."

New Technique for stabilizing eSRAM at 45 nm Process Node

With regard to noteworthy innovations in the eSRAM sector, Renesas Technology Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) recently developed a technique to achieve stability of an eSRAM device used for system-on-a-chip (SoC) applications at 45 nm process node. Experimental results using 512 Kb test chips proved the stability of eSRAM over temperatures extending from minus 40 degrees Celsius to 125 degrees Celsius. The test chips were fabricated using two different memory cell designs: 0.327 micrometer2 and 0.245 micrometer2 at 45 nm using standard bulk CMOS process and the operating voltage varied with the process variations. The cell dimensions are considered to be the world's smallest memory cell. This technique is suitable for achieving highly reliable, high performance, and low-cost eSRAM device for SoC applications at 45 nm process nodes.

Among the emerging technologies, MRAM is seen as the most futuristic technology and is likely to find use in certain high-end applications such as gaming devices, redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) systems, and servers and communication devices. Freescale Semiconductor Inc. based in Austin, Texas leads the commercialization of MRAM technology with the release of its MR2A16A 4 Mb standalone MRAM chip. "The device has read/write access of 35 ns and runs on a 3.3 volts supply, while having symmetrical read/write access times," says the analyst. "This apart, it has an asynchronous design, which is constructed using a 256 K × 16 bit configuration, and tests conducted on the device have revealed the endurance limit of this MRAM device to be about 58 trillion cycles (5.8E13) or infinite write-cycling capability."

Topics Covered
1. Executive Summary
-1. Scope and Methodology
-2. Highlights and Key Findings
2. DRAM; SRAM; and Flash Technology
-1. Embedded SRAM and Embedded DRAM
-2. Flash Technology
3. Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) and Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM)
-1. Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM)
-2. Magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM)
4. Phase Change Memory and Carbon Nanotube Memory
-1. Phase Change Memory
-2. Carbon Nanotube Memory
5. Future Embedded Memories
-1. Molecular Memories
-2. Nanocrystal memory
-3. Zero Capacitor Memory
-4. Types of Memories Under Research
6. Future Outlook for Embedded Memory Technologies
-1. Assessment of Embedded Memory Technology and Applications
-2. Technology and Applications Foresight
7. Key Patents and Contacts
-1. Selected Patents
-2. Key Industry Participants
8. Decision Support Database Tables
-1. Decision Support Database

####

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