Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MLC Flash Memory New Future

A new development by Macronix has the potential of extending flash NAND memory technology for several additional generations.

In 2012 IEDM conference Macronix engineers presented a paper on radically improving flash memory program /erase cycling endurance to more than 100 million cycles by localized heat treatment .  Currently, most advance flash NAND products are limited to less than 100,000 cycles. The larger memory devices, called MLC flash, can store 2 or 3 bits in each memory cell. However, their cycling endurance is limited to less than 10,000 cycles. The new heating method will increase the cycling endurance of MLC flash. An improved cycling endurance would enable development of higher density MLC flash cells with larger numbers of bits per cell.

Macronix's new heat treatment that heals the memory cell can impact other layers in the memory cell. For example, it can change electromigration properties of metal lines nearby. It can also produce mechanical stress around the heat spots. The impact of the heat treatment has to be optimized, since the potential of creating larger flash memory looks promising. Already Macronix will present a flash memory chip with 6 bits per cell at the 2013 ISSCC.


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