Researchers are two steps closer to creating a mass-market version of technology called phase-change memory that could change how computers of the future are put together.
Intel and Numonyx, the chipmaker's joint venture with STMicroelectonics that's focused on flash memory, announced Wednesday they've built a new type of phase-change memory chip they hope will help fulfill the technology's promise for small size and large capacity.
Its 64-megabit capacity isn't momentous on its own--Numonyx announced a 128Mb device in 2006 and Samsung said in September it's producing a 512Mb chip. But what is significant are two major advances in making the decades-old idea practical.
First, the researchers built a grid of wires into the chip so a computer can easily control the writing of a 1 or 0 in each of the 64 million memory cells. Second, they announced their manufacturing process lets them stack several layers atop each other so memory can be packed more densely in a given volume. … Read more