Thursday, 17 Jul, 2008 Technology

Japanese Scientists Developed Flash Able to Function for Hundreds of Years


Japanese Scientists Developed Flash Able to Function for Hundreds of YearsJapanese scientists claim they have developed world's first flash memory with a potential lifetime of hundreds of years. Working at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and the University of Tokyo, scientists mentioned that the new chips are able to work at lower voltages than the usual ones.

It is worth mentioning that Flash memorychips are included in such products as Apple's iPhone, mini laptops such as Asus Eee PC, Nintendo Wii console, Flash memory cards and digital cameras.

Today's Flash chips can serve for about a decade for the majority of applications. Despite this fact, a number of application that require frequent writing and rewriting of information in theory may lead to a faster wear out of the cells, making the Flash device useful for just a few years.

The same thing can occur when users use a large space of Flash memory as a swap file or continuously add updated log files. The lifetime of a Flash memory also depends of its size, meaning the smaller a Flash device is the less time it will serve.

According to Japanese scientists, these factors have a negative impact on the usual Flash cells, making them impracticable at circuit sizes below 20 nm. But scientists managed to create a ferroelectric Nand Flash memory cell that can be leveled down to at least 10 nm.

It's interesting to note that one can rewrite the ferroelectric Flash memory cell over 100 million times, in contrast to the usual Flash memory cell that can be rewritten about 10,000 times.

In order to provide a longer lifetime of their Flash memory chips, scientists used a "wear-levelling" process, which enables an equal use of all cells, worn cells being "retired" having no impact of the whole chip.

Conventional chips use a rewriting voltage of around 20 volts, while the ferroelectric cells use less than 6 volts.

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