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Nram Set to Spark a 'holy War' Among Memory Technologies

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Nantero's NRAM chips and a carbon nanotube.

A non-volatile memory technology based on carbon nanotubes that's poised for commercialization next year is expected to be more disruptive to enterprise storage, servers and consumer electronics than flash memory, according to a new report from BCC Resear

Credit: Nantero

A non-volatile memory technology based on carbon nanotubes should be more disruptive to enterprise storage, servers, and consumer electronics than flash memory when it is commercialized in 2018, according to a new BCC Research report.

Since its creation by Nantero in 2001, nano random-access memory (NRAM) reportedly tops dynamic RAM performance 1,000-fold but stores data when the power is off.

NRAM is composed of an interlocking fabric matrix of carbon nanotubes that can either be touching or slightly separated. Each NRAM "cell" comprises the network of the nanotubes that exist between two metal electrodes; the memory functions the same way as other resistive non-volatile RAM technologies.

BCC Research's Chris Spivey expects NRAM to trigger a "holy war" with many new memory technologies, such as ferroelectric RAM and phase-change memory. Spivey says NRAM's most interesting feature is its transition from silicon to carbon-based memory, "which can evidently be carried out seamlessly on traditional [complementary metal-oxide semiconductor] foundries and also, it seems, even in logic foundries. This ushers in an era of potential mass customization."

BCC Research says this customization will facilitate such innovations as inexpensive autonomous Internet of Things sensors and memory for the smartphone industry, embedded application-specific integrated circuits for cars, and headphones with intrinsic music storage.

From Computerworld
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