Tuesday, August 6th 2013

Crossbar Unveils Resistive RAM Non-Volatile Memory Technology

Emerging from stealth-mode today, Crossbar, Inc., a start-up company pioneering a new category of very high capacity and high-performance non-volatile memory, unveiled its Crossbar Resistive RAM (RRAM) technology. This new generation of non-volatile memory will be capable of storing up to one terabyte (TB) of data on a single 200mm2 chip, enabling massive amounts of information, such as 250 hours of HD movies, to be stored and played back from an IC smaller than a postage stamp. Crossbar today also announced it has developed a working Crossbar memory array at a commercial fab, a major milestone in the development of new memory technology, signaling its readiness to begin the first phase of productization.

Due to its simple three-layer structure, Crossbar technology can be stacked in 3D, delivering multiple terabytes of storage on a single chip. Its simplicity, stackability and CMOS compatibility enable logic and memory to be easily integrated onto a single chip at the latest technology node, a capability not possible with other traditional or alternative non-volatile memory technologies.
"Non-volatile memory is ubiquitous today, as the storage technology at the heart of the over a trillion dollar electronics market - from tablets and USB sticks to enterprise storage systems," said George Minassian, chief executive officer, Crossbar, Inc. "And yet today's non-volatile memory technologies are running out of steam, hitting significant barriers as they scale to smaller manufacturing processes. With our working Crossbar array, we have achieved all the major technical milestones that prove our RRAM technology is easy to manufacture and ready for commercialization. It's a watershed moment for the non-volatile memory industry."

Crossbar's technology will deliver 20x faster write performance, 20x lower power consumption, and 10x the endurance at half the die size, compared to today's best-in-class NAND Flash memory. With that breakthrough performance and reliability, very high capacity and low power consumption, Crossbar will enable a new wave of electronics innovation for consumer, enterprise, mobile, industrial and connected device applications.

Non-volatile memory is the most common storage technology used for both code storage (NOR) and data storage (NAND) in a wide range of electronics applications. According to market research firm Webfeet Research, non-volatile memory is expected to grow to become a $48.4 billion market in 2016. Crossbar plans to bring to market standalone chip solutions, optimized for both code and data storage, used in place of traditional NOR and NAND Flash memory. Crossbar also plans to license its technology to system on a chip (SOC) developers for integration into next-generation SOCs.

Sample of Crossbar Technology Applications:

Consumer Electronics, Mobile Phones and Tablets - Stores all of your personal entertainment, data, photos and information in a device that fits in your pocket. Delivers very fast storage, playback, backup and archiving.

Enterprise Storage, SSDs and Cloud Computing - Extends SSD reliability and capacity. Improves performance for enterprise, data center and cloud storage systems.

The Internet of Things; The Industrial Internet - Delivers years of battery life for industrial and connected applications such as smart meters and thermostats. Wide temperature ranges allow for reliability in the extreme heat of the summer or freezing temperatures in the winter. Enables entirely new, highly integrated SOCs that can be powered with a button cell or energy harvesting from the environment such as solar, heat or simple vibrations.

Wearable Computing - Enables a new generation of wearable computing with high capacity storage in a very small, compact size with very low power consumption.

Secure Payments - Can permanently store the codes and encryption keys needed for secure applications such as large volume smart cards to high-end mobile processors for contactless payments.

Working Memory Array Underscores Simplicity; Readiness for Commercialization

The Crossbar memory cell is based on three simple layers: A non-metallic bottom electrode, an amorphous silicon switching medium and a metallic top electrode. The resistance switching mechanism is based on the formation of a filament in the switching material when a voltage is applied between the two electrodes. This simple and very scalable memory cell structure enables an entirely new class of RRAM, which can be easily incorporated into the back end of line of any standard CMOS manufacturing fab.

After completing the technology transfer to Crossbar's R&D fab and technology analysis and optimization, Crossbar has now successfully developed its demonstration product in a commercial fab. This working silicon is a fully integrated monolithic CMOS controller and memory array chip. The company is currently completing the characterization and optimization of this device and plans to bring its first product to market in the embedded SOC market.

Supporting Quotes:

Sherry Garber, Founding Partner, Convergent Semiconductors
"RRAM is widely considered the obvious leader in the battle for a next generation memory and Crossbar is the company most advanced, showing a working demo that proves the manufacturability of RRAM. This is a significant development in the industry, as it provides a clear path to commercialization of a new storage technology, capable of changing the future landscape of electronics innovation."

Jim Handy, Director, Objective Analysis
"The memory market is looking to new technologies to take over once flash reaches its scaling limit. Crossbar's impressive progress in the development of a manufacturable ReRAM gives a big boost to this popular alternative memory."

Michael Yang, Senior Principal Analyst, Memory and Storage, IHS
"Ninety percent of the data we store today was created in the past two years. The creation and instant access of data has become an integral part of the modern experience, continuing to drive dramatic growth for storage for the foreseeable future. However, the current storage medium, planar NAND, is seeing challenges as it reaches the lower lithographies, pushing against physical and engineering limits. The next generation non-volatile memory, such as Crossbar's RRAM, would bypass those limits, and provide the performance and capacity necessary to become the replacement memory solution."

Greg Wong, Founder, President and Principal Analyst, Forward Insights
"For several years now companies have focused on developing a next generation memory technology that will lead to significant improvements in reliability, performance, low power operation and scalability compared to existing non-volatile memories. Forward Insights believes that RRAM, including Crossbar's approach, has the potential to succeed NAND flash memory due to its scalability and manufacturability. With the realization of a working demo array, we are excited to see the future impact of this technology on a wide range of applications from mobile and connected devices, to storage and data centers."

Alan Niebel, Founder and CEO, WebFeet Research
"To date, there has not been a viable 2D or 3D NAND replacement technology. Storage Class Memories like Crossbar's RRAM have a chance of capturing this elusive NAND replacement $40+ billion prize. Crossbar's working RRAM technology array demonstrates significant commercialization progress. Continuing on this trajectory, they could lead the market with a cost effective crosspoint, multi-layer (8) RRAM ahead of the 3D NAND or their 3D RRAM competition."

Yatin Mundkur, Partner, Artiman Ventures
"We are thrilled to see Crossbar achieve a significant industry milestone and produce its first working array in CMOS production facility. We are one step closer to achieving our goal of commercializing a completely new class of memory using a much simpler cell structure than traditional flash alternatives. Artiman is excited to continue working with Crossbar to revolutionize the memory industry."
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4 Comments on Crossbar Unveils Resistive RAM Non-Volatile Memory Technology

It might be better than the V-NAND Samsung are producing, but the catch is Samsung are already mass producing... This supposed Messiah RRAM probably wont be mass produced and widely available to consumers for years to come. My best guess is this is a PR stunt to get investors' money so they can make it into the market before they get muscled out by Samsung.
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Somehow, this sound to good to be true. Kinda like the Holly Grail of storage.
Skeptical until first product is release.
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Prima.VeraSomehow, this sound to good to be true. Kinda like the Holly Grail of storage.
Skeptical until first product is release.
I agree, we've been discussing this for a long time, and it does sound far too good to be true. If it were, why didnt somebody with 10 times the budget do it first? Sounds like a lot of talk coming from them and not much of the walk.
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The day NV-RAM becomes the C:\ or root boot drive attached directly to the MOBO, bootable, and addressable by the CPU; will be one of the biggest revolutions in modern computing.
Perf will be insane to have a 64GB persistent drive plugged where our RAM plugs into now having all OS & caching be in the same modules at multiple GB/s read & write speeds would be so nice, like booting from a persistent RAMDisk = <3
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