GENEVA, Switzerland Brian Harrison, president and CEO of Numonyx B.V. made a spirited and forthright defense for the prospects of phase-change memory technology (PCM) at Future Horizons' International Electronics Forum, which takes place here this week.
He told a somewhat skeptical audience that PCM "will enable the next wave of innovation" in the nonvolatile memories, and that the pioneering work Numonyx is doing represents "a disruptive technology that will transform the memories sector."
He suggested PCM will "tick all the right boxes" in relation to performance, power retention, ease of use, write speed and cost compared to DRAMs and other flash memories, and parried suggestions that PCM memories will not scale and that it is not a viable memory technology, even though researchers have been working on it for 40 years.
Many in the industry have voiced concerns about the cost-per bit and whether the technology is scalable or able to meet write-speed requirements, but Harrison stressed: "It is not about cost at this early stage. We are looking at this as mainstream in 5 to 10 years, even though we have been shipping samples to about 40 selected customers since 2008."
The part is a 128-Mbit device made in 90-nm technology.
Speaking to EE Times after his talk, Harrison added "we are getting revenues for our efforts, not big revenues, but it is a start." He said the discrete devices being shipped are not for handheld applications or high end servers, often touted as the likely main applications for phase change memories.