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Hitachi cracks ‘movie on a chip’ memory

Breakthrough design will store gigs - now over to rotating media for the counter-strike...

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Hitachi's Cambridge R&D centre has claimed a memory technology breakthrough that will allow all the images and sound from a complete movie to be stored on a single chip. The system, PLEDM, is being proposed as a next-generation memory technology that could conceivably replace hard disks. The lab, a Hitachi-backed facility of Cambridge University, is engaged in nanotechnology research, and PLED (Phase-state Low Electron(hole)-number Drive Memory, looks like becoming its first major commercial product, in around five years time. PLED moves on from standard DRAM technology, which have one transistor and one capacitor cell, by using two transistors to make a "gain cell" in a smaller area. The PLEDTR (PLED TRansistor) is stacked onto the gate in a conventional transistor. The PLED cell itself is as small as a conventional transistor, with a read/write time of less than 10nsec and a large signal even at low voltage. It's therefore fast, inherently low power, and according to Hitachi could be developed to retain memory even with power switched off. This, combined with its ability to form the basis of multi-gigabit chips in the next century, would allow it to be used as a hard disk substitute, and allow large quantities of cheap, fast, non-volatile storage to be used in pocket devices. ®

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