World's most widely used non-volatile memory Flash memory is limited by performance such as data-access-speed, bit-access, and data retention life. The research trend now in memory technology is to find a single memory for both temporary storage and permanent storage in personal computers as well as embedded systems. Research trend now in memory is unification of memory, so that there should be no separate SRAM, DRAM and flash, it's going to be just one memory. In this article we are going to provide what are the commercial devices already available, which can replace flash memory and other semiconductor material silicon based memory.
This article provides details of non-volatile components and the IC chips that are available in the market today. Some of these devices hold content without power (non-volatile), but has the speed and random access capability of DRAM/SRAM chips
Phase Change Memory (PCM)
The data switch (0 to 1) in PCM is based on the resistance difference of two phases (Crystalline & Amorphous). PCM is designed to eliminate DRAM and flash with single alternate memory. "Phase change RAM" (PRAM and PCRAM), "chalcogenide RAM" (C-RAM) and Ovonic Unified Memory are other names for phase change memory (PCM). PRAM is acronym used by Samsung.
PCM is said to offer high performance and low power consumption, combing the best specifications of NOR, NAND and RAM within single chip. PCM advantages include single-bit read/write capability, non-volatile, fast data access speeds while reading, fast data write/erase speed, and good scalability.
PCM memory IC selection table from important vendors:
Manufacturer Name Manufacturer Part Number Type - Interface Density (Memory Size) Micron Technology, Inc. (Numonyx) NP5Q128AE3ESFC0E Serial 128Mb Micron Technology, Inc. (Numonyx) NP8P128AE3TSM60E Parallel 128Mb - Top Boot Samsung K522H1HACF Mux x16
Manufacturer Part Number Speed (Access Time) Voltage - Supply Package (Pin/Ball/Count) NP5Q128AE3ESFC0E 33 MHz 2.7 to 3.6V SOIC-16 pin NP8P128AE3TSM60E 2.7 to 3.6V TSOP - 56 pin K522H1HACF 200MHz 1.8V 153FBGA
Datasheet and detailed information of the above parts visit:
Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM or FeRAM)
FFRAM combines the best of RAM and ROM into a single package that outperforms other non-volatile memories with fast writes, high endurance and ultra-low power consumption.
FRAM has 10K times greater endurance and 3K times less power consumption than a typical serial EEPROM device, and nearly 500 times the write speed.
F-RAM, FeRAM and FRAM are synonymous. Texas Instruments have chosen to use the acronym FRAM while Ramtron uses F-RAM.
FRAM IC selection table from key vendors:
Manufacturer Name Manufacturer Part Number Type - Interface Organisation Ramtron FM23MLD16-60-BG Parallel 512K x 16 Fujitsu MB85R256F Parallel 32k x 8 Lapis Semiconductor MR48V256A Parallel Ramtron FM24V10-G Serial - I2C Interface 131,072 x 8 bits Fujitsu MB85RC16V Serial - I2C Interface 2k x 8 Lapis Semiconductor MR44V064A Serial - I2C Interface Ramtron FM25V20-G Serial - SPI Interface 256K x 8 bits Fujitsu MB85RS256A Serial - SPI Interface 32k x 8 Lapis Semiconductor MR45V032A Serial - SPI Interface
Manufacturer Part Number Density (Memory Size) Speed (Access Time) Voltage - Supply FM23MLD16-60-BG 60ns 2.7 to 3.6V MB85R256F 256Kbit 150ns 2.7 to 3.6V MR48V256A 256Kbit 150ns 3.0 to 3.6V FM24V10-G 1Mb 3.4MHz 2.0 to 3.6V MB85RC16V 16Kbit 400kHz 3.0 to 5.5V MR44V064A 64Kbit 3.4MHz 2.5 to 3.6V FM25V20-G 2Mb 40MHz 2.0 to 3.6V MB85RS256A 256Kbit 25MHz 3.0 to 3.6V MR45V032A 32Kbit 15MHz 2.7 to 3.6V
For data sheet of above parts visit:
- Ramtron provides important notes on the observation made on a counterfeit component FM25160. More details are at http://www.ramtron.com/support/counterfeit-fram.aspx
- Texas Instruments is producing Ramtron's 4Mb & 2Mb FRAM memory on it's advanced 130nm FRAM manufacturing process. More details about TI's FRAMs can be viewed at http://www.ti.com/mcu/docs/mcuproductcontentnp.tsp?familyId=1751§ionId=95&tabId=2823&family=mcu
- Ramtron has unveiled the FM25V20, a 2-megabit (Mb) high performance serial F-RAM device. The FM25V20 is a member of Ramtron's V-Family of F-RAM products, which offers a wide operating voltage range of 2.0 to 3.6-volts
Magneto Resistive RAM (MRAM)
MRAM uses electron spin to store data and is also called as Universal memory - offering the density of DRAM with the speed of SRAM and non-volatility of FLASH memory/ disk drives. MRAM consumes less power, resists high radiation and operate in extreme temperatures making it suitable for mil and aerospace applications..
There are several 'newer' types of MRAMs - STT-RAM, NV-RAM, etc.,
MRAM IC Table:
Manufacturer Name Manufacturer Part Number Type - Interface Organisation Everspin Technologies, Inc. MR4A16BCMA35 Parallel x16 Freescale Semiconductor MR2A16ATS35C Parallel 256K x 16 Everspin Technologies, Inc. MR25H256MDCR SPI x1
Manufacturer Part Number Density (Memory Size) Speed (Access Time) Voltage - Supply MR4A16BCMA35 16Mb 35ns 3.3V MR2A16ATS35C 4Mb 35ns 3 to 3.6V MR25H256MDCR 256Kb 40MHz 3.3V
For datasheet of above parts visit:
Other not so commercialized non-volatile memory technologies:
Nano-RAM is a proprietary computer memory technology of Nantero, Inc. NRAM is a type of NV memory based on the mechanical position of carbon nanotubes deposited on a chip-like substrate.
Memristor, a short name for memory-resistor is invented by HP as a fourth circuit element after resistor, capacitor and inductor. It is seen as a replacement for flash memory. The fundamental operation is little complex. More proper explanation can be found at: http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/design/the-mysterious-memristo
Also for more details refer: http://www.hpl.hp.com/news/2008/apr-jun/memristor_faq.html
Currently, IBM, HP, Samsung, and many other research labs seem to be hovering around the titanium dioxide memristors. The first products using memristor technology are expected to become available around 2013.
Programmable Metallized Cell (PMC)
PMC is a new of Non-Volatile Memory being developed at Arizona State University as a replacement for flash memory, providing a combination of longer lifetimes, lower power, and better memory density.
Infineon Technologies has licensed the technology in 2004 and calls it conductive-bridging RAM, or CBRAM. NEC has a variant called "Nanobridge" and Sony calls their version "electrolytic memory".
Axon Technologies, Micron Technology & Infineon have been licensed the basic concept of this technology and are working on it.
But you still use flash memory to store your code find in the link below some popular parts of NOR Flash type:
Note: The specification provided above are only indicative for clarification consult the manufacturer of the part: