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SiOx memory startup scales RRAM devices to 50nm

Technology News |
By Peter Clarke

Intrinsic Semiconductor Technologies Ltd. (London, England) has made examples of its silicon oxide-based resistive random access memory (RRAM or ReRAM) on a 50nm CMOS manufacturing process.

The work was done in partnership with research institute IMEC (Leuven, Belgium). Intrinsic, a 2017 spin-off from University College London, claims the devices have proved the technology’s suitability as a low-cost embedded,non-volatile memory in logic devices at advanced processing nodes.

UCL’s research has followed a similar path to that of Professor James Tour at Rice University, which is also based on the ability to switch the resistance of thin layers of silicon oxide (see UK researchers follow silicon-oxide ReRAM route and Rice University: Making memory out of silicon oxide). Professor Tour’s work led to the formation of Weebit Nano Ltd. (see Weebit moves SiOx ReRAM on to 40nm).

No mention was made of manufacturing arrays of RRAM or the use of selector devices to prevent “sneak-path” leakage. So, it may be assumed that so far the company has only made individual devices. This would put Intrinsic some way behind Weebit in terms of technical development.

One of the attractions of SiOx as a switching material is that it is already used in chip manufacturing as an insulator. It is only when applied in atomically thin layers that the filamentary switching characteristic comes into play.

“We are delighted to have hit this critical milestone, confirming our theoretical analysis that the devices can be made with nanoscale dimensions,” said Mark Dickinson, CEO of Intrinsic. “For the semiconductor industry, this means, at last, there will be a simple and low-cost way to integrate non-volatile memory in any chip.”

Intrinsic said the SiOx ReRAM is as fast to read as SRAM but with a smaller memory cell size, and therefore lower cost. The non-volatility means that power can be switched off during idle time making for lower power consumption. The company foresees applications in microntrollers and artificial neural networks.

“It is very exciting that Intrinsic’s technology has achieved this significant milestone,” said Nigel Toon, advisor to Intrinsic and CEO of Graphcore. “Intrinsic is on track to offer a new, embedded, non-volatile memory that is compatible with the most advanced semiconductor process nodes, an option that doesn’t exist today.”

Related links and articles:

www.intrinsicsemi.com

News articles:

SiOx memory startup gets funds, plans IMEC partnership

UCL spins out ReRAM startup

UK researchers follow silicon-oxide ReRAM route

Weebit, Leti extend memory development partnership


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