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Nano-cantilever memory solving flash conundrum

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Feats of endurance

"The typical endurance rate of a flash memory is 10–100 thousand cycles. On the other hand, MEMS switches are known to have more than 100 million switching cycles. It can therefore be expected that the CNT memory device presented here can have endurance rates more than 1,000 times better than flash memory devices."

Operationally it is already faster than conventional NAND flash and the power consumption is claimed to be lower than other memory devices. The researchers say: "The actual time required to switch the cantilever on was found to be circa 130 ns with circa 145 ns for switching off. … much faster than the speed of conventional flash memories."

Regarding power consumption they say: "The MEMS switch is electro-statically activated and does not consume any current. Therefore, near-zero power is required for each switching operation."

Their invention seems pretty stable; 500-plus programming and erase cycles were demonstrated without degradation and the set and reset currents were unchanged after more than 11 hours of constant operation.

They also say that multinary, more than binary, programming is feasible, stating:

For this memory device, multi-level programming is realised by a simple change of voltage on the cantilever. Therefore, the controllability is much easier and the density of multi-level bits can be much higher than for flash memories.

The Nature Communications article is well worth reading, and free to read, if you want to know more. ®

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