SAN JOSE, Calif. - Seeking to commercialize its memristor technology, Hewlett-Parkard Co. has entered into a joint development agreement with South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc.
HP and Hynix will jointly develop new materials and process integration technology to transfer HP's memristor technology from R&D to commercial development in the form of resistive random access memory (ReRAM).
The deal is non-exclusive, according to HP, who said HP may work with others in the ReRAM arena.
HP itself does not want to be in the ReRAM business, said Stan Williams, senior fellow at HP and founding director of the Information and Quantum Systems Laboratory at HP Labs.
Eventually, HP hopes to use ReRAMs in its own, undisclosed products, Williams told EE Times. Initially, on the chip front, the company is working with Hynix. Then, HP hopes to work with other memory makers. This will allow the industry to purchase ReRAMs at competitive prices, he said.
Hynix will implement the memristor technology in its research and development fab. Hynix is hedging its bets, as the company is working on several rival memory technologies. Hynix and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. are jointly working on rival MRAM technology. Hynix and Grandis Inc. are also working on a next-generation MRAM technology called spin-transfer torque RAM.
FeRAM, MRAM, phase-change and ReRAM are next-generation memory technologies.
ReRAM is non-volatile memory with low power consumption that holds the potential to replace flash memory; it also has the potential to serve as a universal storage medium – that is, memory that can behave as flash, DRAM or even a hard drive, according to HP.
End-user products based on ReRAMs are due out by the end of 2013, Williams said. ''This is a darkhorse technology,'' Williams said. ''We think this will break out of the pack.''
HP and Hynix have not defined the first end-user products based on ReRAM. In any case, ReRAMs are ideal for solid-state storage, main memory for PCs and other products, he added.
The memristor, short for “memory resistor,” was postulated to be the fourth basic circuit element by Leon Chua of the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. It was moved into practice by researchers in HP Labs.
Earlier this year, HP announced the discovery that the memristor also can perform logic, showing that memristor-based devices could change the standard paradigm of computing by enabling computation to one day be performed in chips where data is stored, rather than on a specialized central processing unit.
HP has been talking about the technology for years, but it has yet to commercialize it. Others are also working on ReRAM, including 4DS, Adesto, Unity and several startups.
In order to explore the scaling limitations of conventional flash memory cells European research institute IMEC recently started looking at resistive RAM (RRAM) cells. Five of the leading memory makers — Samsung, Hynix, Elpida and Micron Technology — are involved in the IMEC core CMOS research program and are set to share the cost and benefit from the results of the research.
Resistive switching memories are based on materials whose resistivity can be electrically switched between high and low conductive states. RRAM is becoming of interest for future scaled memories because of their superior intrinsic scaling characteristics compared to the charge-based flash devices, and potentially small cell size, enabling dense crossbar RRAM arrays using vertical diode selecting elements. RRAM is seen as a potential candidate to replace conventional flash memory at or below the 22-nm manufacturing process technology node.
I guess it helps that HP buys a lot of DRAM from Hynix :-) If a big customer of yours comes to you and asks you to license their technology for a small sum, it makes sense to oblige.
Hynix is also way behind on RRAM compared to Samsung (who has been working on it since 2000, and has a lot more work/IP on it than HP). So it makes sense for them to use HP's know-how to be able to start competing with Samsung.
Junko thanks for backround in detailed. However i wonder why lecturer insists to not teach memristor as 4 element of electronic. Here is an interesting post of spectrum, ( http://tinyurl.com/2g3hpn4 )which i believe details everything clearly. Even the experts couldnt believe that it would be feasible and real one day, it was just a theory.
Its clearly time for all lecturers all over to world to learn&teach to new generations of electronics more about missing element. So than it could be accepted and implemented widely.
Thanks to HP and Hynix to break down such thoughts like " "I don't think the memristor will be taught in undergraduate courses until it is widely adopted in industry for the simple reason that any circuit containing even only one memristor must be analyzed by nonlinear techniques,"
Interesting this device - one whose resistance can alter with charge. However I have difficulty imagining a scenario where this can be used in a circuit. Can someone elaborate a bit more on the possible applications already mentioned in the article? Thanks!
eeTimes is a great site, I just come across this great invention going on. ReRAM is something very new for me. I came across it at this site only. But this memory has got very good potential of changing the present day use of Memories and Storage. Hope it will get standardized earlier. But since the giants are after it this memory will come with some royalties, if it is like that then will not survive in the market rather will not be able to get positioned in the market.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.