Feeds

Flash memory made immortal by fiery heat

Macronix's 'Thermal annealing' process extends SSD life from 10k to 100m read/write cycles

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Taiwanese flash memory non-volatile memory manufacturer Macronix is set to reveal technologies is says will make it possible for flash memory to survive 100 million read/write cycles.

Today's flash memory wears out over time, because moving electrons in and out of transistors wears them down. That problem has led manufacturers to implement “wear levelling” algorithms that ensure data is not always written to the same regions of a disk. By sharing the work around, wear levelling helps flash disks to age gracefully, instead of frequently-used regions dying young.

The likes of Intel and Samsung have, of late, been keen to point out that their wear levelling techniques are now so advanced that disks they make will likely survive all-but the most extended working lives.

But Macronix's innovations, which it will reveal at the 2012 International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco on December 11th, look like making wear levelling irrelevant.

Macronix has signed up to deliver a talk titled “9.1 Radically Extending the Cycling Endurance of Flash Memory (to > 100M Cycles) by Using Built-in Thermal Annealing to Self-heal the Stress-Induced Damage” at the event. The summary for the talk explains that “Flash memory endurance is limited by the tunnel oxide degradation after repeated P/E stressing in strong electric field.”

“Thermal annealing should be able to repair the oxide damage,” the summary continues, “but such theory cannot be tested in real time since completed device cannot endure high temperature > 400°C and long baking time is impractical for real time operation.”

Macronix's breakthrough is described as “A novel self-healing Flash, where a locally high temperature (>800°C), short time (ms) annealing is generated by a built-in heater.” This apparatus performs so well that the company says its tests reached 100 million read/write cycles without any signs of trouble ... and that longer life looks possible but they ran out of time to run more tests.

Macronix's thermal annealing scheme makes immortal flash

Macronix's scheme for self-healing flash uses internal heaters to repair damage

A happy by-product of the process is faster erase times, giving flash yet another speed advantage over spinning rust.

One of the researchers on the project,  Hang‑Ting Lue, has told IEEE Spectrum that the amount of energy required to heat flash in this way is sufficiently small that it will be suitable for use in mobile devices. He's also said the technique has the Macronix intends to commercialise the technology, but of course it's too early to suggest a timeframe for its arrival in mass-market products. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?