Flash memory is fast, it’s stable, but it’s not without its flaws. It has a tendency to wear out after too many write-erase cycles, for example. Now there’s a way to deal with that problem, and it could lead to self-healing NAND flash memory that could last for much, much longer than the stuff we have now.
The discovery comes from Taiwan-based company Macronix who realized that the key to long-lasting NAND memory is the strategic application of heat. If you bake the memory at a heat of around 480 degrees Fahrenheit for a few hours, you can breathe some of the life back into it. The problem is that isn’t exactly practical.
Macronix is working on a solution that is more practical, though: a chip with on-board heaters. Instead of baking the whole chip, it would jolt unused-but-aging sectors with a super blast of heat (about 1,400 degrees) every now and then. This could give chips a lifespan of roughly 100 million cycles, orders of magnitude more than the current highs of 100,000 to 1 million.
Before you get too excited, commercial versions are not inbound yet. Macronix will instead be presenting the tech at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting. It’s still an exciting development nonetheless and is sure to make it into consumer goodies sooner or later. Hopefully sooner. [PhysOrg]