To confirm the characteristics of the millennial flash memory UltraRAM
Hardware

To confirm the characteristics of the “millennial flash memory” UltraRAM, a 20nm prototype is released

QuInAs Technology, a British developer of a novel non-volatile memory, announced the purchase of equipment to produce a 20nm prototype. The sample must confirm UltraRAM’s claimed high characteristics, from the highest read speeds to the ability to withstand 10 million rewrite cycles. After that, the company expects to start small-scale production of the new product and find customers among world-renowned memory manufacturers.

    Image source: QuInAs Technology

Image source: QuInAs Technology

UltraRAM memory was developed by physicists at the British Universities of Lancaster and Warwick. To commercialize the development, QuInAs Technology was founded this winter. The company’s debut took place at the current August Flash Memory Summit 2023. In addition, it received the prestigious award as “The most innovative flash storage startup”. They say representatives of Meta tormented inventors with questions. They really liked the energy efficient parameters of the new product.

Resource journalists Tom’s Hardware got the opportunity Visit the lab where UltraRAM samples are created and tested. QuInAs’ technology specialists continue to work at the Faculty of Physics at Lancaster University. With the money received from investors, they buy new production and testing equipment for the laboratory and, in the next step, want to bring UltraRAM samples to the technological standard of 20 nm.

Testing 20nm samples will confirm and most likely even improve the already very, very good properties of future non-volatile memories that can potentially replace 3D NAND flash memory. The developer expects an order of magnitude reduction in UltraRAM latency compared to DRAM-RAM and an increase in rewrite cycles to 10 million or even more, which is several orders of magnitude more than modern 3D NAND. The latency when reading UltraRAM should be around 1 ns.

In addition, the charge in UltraRAM cells can be stored for over 1000 years without leakage, generally indicating their high energy efficiency. UltraRAM promises to be 100 times more power efficient than DRAM and 1000 times better than 3D NAND.

An innovative three-layer floating valve made of indium arsenide and aluminum antimonide (InAs / AlSb) ensures maximum energy efficiency and leakage protection. In conventional 3D NAND memory, the oxide floating gate in the cell is gradually destroyed, while in UltraRAM memory the three-layer gate is almost neutral to external influences. Reading is also done in a non-destructive manner, which in total amounts to an incredible number of rewriting cycles by modern standards. Electrons tunnel through the triple barrier into the cell at resonance and exit in the same way during the erasing process, making the writing process very, very energy efficient.

To continue work on UltraRAM, the company received a grant from Innovate UK’s ICURe Exploit fund, which it should announce soon. The funds will help advance commercialization of the product. As QuInAs Technology admitted, memory manufacturers are being sought in Taiwan, not Europe. Apparently processors and controllers will be the first to use the new memory as embedded arrays. High-speed, wear-resistant and non-volatile memory for processors is the key to increased performance, mobility and even new architectures.

About the author

Dylan Harris

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

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