Computer Business Review

Researchers say ‘NRAM' could become universal memory chip

by Byomakesh Biswal| 16 June 2014

End for DRAM? Nonvolatile chip can be used as permanent data storage even without power.

A team of researchers of Chuo University and US based company Nantero have claimed NRAM, or nanotube-based/ nonvolatile RAM can be used as universal memory chip, replacing DRAM (dynamic RAM), SRAM (static RAM), flash memory, and ultimately hard disk storage.

The Japanese team under the leadership of Ken Takeuchi, a professor at the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Communication Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering of Chuo University along with US-based nano-technology company Nantero, have verified the findings.

The team has outlined its finding during a lecture at 2014 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits, "23% Faster Program and 40%Energy Reduction of Carbon Nanotube Non-Volatile Memory with Over 1011 Endurance".

In their paper the researchers claimed, "Carbon nanotube (CNT) non-volatile memory provides excellent cell characteristics of 1011 endurance, low power, fast <5ns array program, and multi-level cell (MLC) potential."

"For the first time, optimal program methods are investigated considering speed, power and cell variability. Discrete cells are measured and a multiple-pulse reset scheme is proposed to reduce verify-reset time and a gate pulse verify-reset scheme further reduces array program energy by 40%."

Nantero says engineering samples of NRAM, manufactured in production CMOS fabs have already been shipped to multiple selected customers.

It claims NRAM will be faster and denser than DRAM while consuming substantially less power compared to DRAM or flash.

It can be used a portable flash memory and resistant to heat, cold and magnetism while being nonvolatile chip, it can be used as permanent data storage even without power.

NRAM can be used as memory chip in cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, PDAs and can be used in the networking applications also, the company claimed.

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