100 year flash memory chip developed

Sections: Computers, Hardware, Peripherals, Storage

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Widely used in devices like the iPhone, mini notebooks, digital cameras, Flash-based SSD hard disk drives and more, flash memory chips usually have a lifetime of about ten years. This is even being optimistic. When you are using applications that need a lot of repeat writing and rewriting however, this can cause the cells to wear out even faster, and you can find your flash device useless in only a couple of years. So, a flash memory chip that is purported to work for up to a century? Literally unheard of. But that is just what Japanese scientists say they have developed. Scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and the University of Tokyo also claim that the new chips work at a lower voltage than conventional chips.

Another thing that causes the current standard flash chip to lose effectiveness in longterm usage is the trend to miniaturize chip size. Scientists claim that flash cells are unworkable at circuit sizes below 20 nanometers. However, the new ferroelectric Nand Flash memory cell recently developed doesn’t seem to have this problem. It can be downsized to at least 10 nanometers, with the next generation of conventional flash cells using a 30 nanometer circuit density.

In addition, rewrites are also not a hardship for the ferroelectric Flash. This ferroelectric cell can be rewritten more than 100 million times; as opposed to the conventional cell’s 10,000. What assists in prolonging their life is a “wear-leveling” process, wherein all cells are used equally. The worn out cells are “retired” without the whole chip being disabled. It also uses a rewriting voltage of less than six volts, compared to 20 volts used by the conventional chip.

So, 100 hours of usage? Break out those devices folks…looks like your chip will be around for your grandkids to play with.

Via [Slashdot]

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