STMicroelectronics is to start work on a joint development project with US-based Ovonyx to build non-volatile memories based on a technology derived from that used in rewriteable CDs.
The phase-change memory technology developed by Ovonyx, a spinoff from Energy Conversion Devices, is based on an alloy that can be rendered amorphous or crystalline by an electric current. The two phases have measurably different resistances, meaning that it can be used in a solid-state memory.
The licence that ST has obtained will let the company build the memory technology into microcontrollers, system-on-chip and bulk memory devices. ST said the memory could also be used in reconfigurable logic devices.
Carlo Bozotti, corporate vice president and general manager of ST's memory products group, said: "We are highly impressed by the potential of the Ovonyx thin-film technology and excited by the challenges and opportunities it presents."