A research team consisting of Dr. Moon Chang-youn, Eom Dae-jin, and Koo Ja-yong at the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science announced on Jan. 22 that they have successfully developed the basic technology to produce terabyte-level nonvolatile memory by inserting digital information onto a silicon wafer.
Nonvolatile memory can maintain stored information without power. Other names for it are flash memory, read-only memory, magnetic resistance memory, and electrical resistance memory.
After injecting a certain amount of boron into a silicon wafer and conducting heat treatments, the distance between silicon atoms that were exposed to the surface of the silicon wafer increased, according to the research team. Each atom on the surface could be changed between two different states by electrical stimulation.
Once atoms on the surface are modified, they maintain the same state after the supply of electric current ends. The nonvolatile characteristics mean that each atom can store digital information. Once it is possible to put digital information on a silicon wafer, the manufacture of terabyte-level nonvolatile memory is feasible as well.
The new nonvolatile memory has 200 to 300 times greater density than existing products. Furthermore, as existing flash memory is composed of a 24 to 32-layer stack, the actual storage density of the memory increases by around 7,000 times when the number of layers is applied to the new memory. In other words, it is possible to manufacture nonvolatile memory that has thousands of times more data storage without increasing the size.
Dr. Uhm stressed, “The newly-developed technology can make atom-level memory devices. So, further research will make it possible to manufacture nonvolatile memory with more data storage.”
The research findings were first published online on Jan. 5 by Nano Letters, a monthly scientific journal published by the American Chemical Society.