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Philips claims 'super Flash' memory breakthrough
Contributed by: SHA, at 3/17/2005 07:48:00 PM.

Scientists at Philips have developed a material for non-volatile memory chips that's not only better than Flash in almost every respect, but keeps on getting better the smaller you shrink the memory cells.
Philips' material operates on the same principle as rewriteable DVDs - its physical state can be changed back and forth between two forms, known as 'phases', by pumping it with energy. Each phase can be used to represent the 1s and 0s of binary data.
Where DVD RWs simply use the different phases to reflect laser light on and off from a detector, Philips' memory cell contains a thin film of the 'phase-change' material surrounded by silicon-dioxide and changes it from one phase to another again using pulses of electric current. The two phases have different electrical resistance, which represents the binary information.
Philips admitted that the technique isn't new, but it reckons the material it uses - a doped Antimony Tellurium (SbTe) compound - and the structure of the cell are novel, and, unlike other attempts at phase-change memory, well-suited to the standard CMOS process used to make most computer chips.


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