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Resistive memory device to replace flash

Posted: 20 Aug 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:University of California  resistive memory  flash 

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a novel way to build the next generation memory storage devices for portable electronic devices including smart phones, tablets, laptops, and digital cameras.

The device is based on the principles of resistive memory, which can be used to create memory cells that are smaller, operate at a higher speed and offer more storage capacity than flash memory cells, the current industry standard. Terabytes, not gigbytes, will be the norm with resistive memory, the researchers said.

Resistive memory is seen as a replacement for flash memory, which may be reaching the end of its lifespan, according to the researchers. With that in mind, resistive memory is receiving significant attention from academia and the electronics industry because it has a simple structure, high-density integration, fast operation and long endurance.

The key advancement in the UC Riverside research is the creation of a zinc oxide nano-island on silicon. It eliminates the need for a second element called a selector device, which is often a diode.

Resistive memory usually has a metal-oxide-metal structure in connection with a selector device. The research team has demonstrated a novel alternative way by forming self-assembled zinc oxide nano-islands on silicon. Using a conductive atomic force microscope, the researchers observed three operation modes from the same device structure, essentially eliminating the need for a separate selector device.

"This is a significant step as the electronics industry is considering wide-scale adoption of resistive memory as an alternative for flash memory," said Jianlin Liu, a professor of electrical engineering at UC Riverside who is one of the authors of the paper. "It really simplifies the process and lowers the fabrication cost."





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