The revolutionary ULTRARAM computer memory is implemented in silicon

The revolutionary ULTRARAM computer memory is implemented in silicon – mass production is just around the corner

British scientists made an important step towards the mass production of a revolutionary new computer memory that combines the properties of RAM and non-volatile memory. The new ULTRARAM is as fast as DRAM chips and can store data like NAND when it is switched off. At the same time, the number of erase cycles reaches tens of millions, which for NAND is an unattainable dream of wear resistance.

Image source: Advanced Electronic Materials

Image source: Advanced Electronic Materials

A step towards mass production of ULTRARAM (patented in the US and pending examination in other countries) was the release of ULTRARAM arrays on silicon substrates, via the reported in a new article in the magazine Advanced electronic materials… Developed by ULTRARAM physicists at Lancaster University (UK) and released on silicon in the laboratory of the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warwick. The production of prototypes has allowed us to confirm the declared high properties of ULTRARAM memory, which works with the performance of RAM and maintains the most important properties of non-volatile memory.

In particular, the specified number of erase / program cycles reaches 10 million. Data in memory can be stored for over 1000 years. Switching speed for elements in the 10 to 20 µm range is less than 10 ms at an erase voltage of 2.5 V, which appears to be the best result among similar structures with a single cell. Theoretically, the performance promises to be within 10 ns. Such memory may be ideal not only for computers and smartphones, but also for AI structures that mimic the work of the human brain. Calculations are performed directly in memory without sending data to dedicated banks.

It remains to be remembered that ULTRARAM memory works on the basis of quantum mechanical phenomena. Memory cells store information in the form of individual electrons or groups of electrons (charge), which are held there due to a forbidden zone (barrier) in the semiconductor. With a small control voltage, such barriers can be made transparent and closed again. Thus, electrons can tunnel out of the cell or return to it, which provides a 0 or 1 data set.

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Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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