LONDON Ė Engineering consultancy UBM TechInsights has announced it has found a phase-change memory die inside a multi-chip package inside a mobile handset.
TechInsights (Ottawa, Ontario), part of the same group that publishes EE Times, has found a NOR flash memory compatible phase-change RAM, from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in a mobile handset but declined to reveal the model of handset citing reasons of customer confidentiality. "We will be able to reveal it in the near future once our work with this client is done," a spokesman for UBM TechInsights said.
Samsung had said in April 2010 it would be shipping a multi-chip package memory, including a 512-Mbit phase-change memory die in the second quarter of 2010 (see Samsung to ship MCP with phase-change). At the time Samsung was not clear about the process technology in use describing it as "equivalent to 40-nm-class NOR flash memory." The process is thought to be at about 65- to 60-nm minimum dimensions. The half-pitch memory distance shown in the microphotograph below (8 cells per micron) bears this out.
Numonyx, now Micron Technologies Inc., released a 90-nm 128-Mbit phase-change memory in 2008, which it formalized as the Omneo range of serial and parallel access memories in April 2010. But the company has not said anything about design wins or volume production. Numonyx has been developing a 1-Gbit phase-change memory in a 45-nm process, but there has been no news of sampling or volume production for a device that was expected to appear early in 2010.
UBM TechInsights has confirmed the commercial availability of a 512-Mbit PRAM die, labeled KPS1N15EZA, and packaged with a Samsung 128Mbit UtRAM die in a multi-chip package in a mobile phone. The Samsung PRAM die is comprised of four aluminum interconnect layers with the memory elements and the top and bottom electrode contacts built between the aluminum metal 1 and the silicon substrate.
"Recent debate on the scaling limitation of phase change memory technologies, combined with production delays from Numonyx, had left many wondering if PRAM would ever realize its promise as a next-generation memory," said Young Choi, senior consultant for professional services at UBM TechInsights, in a statement. "The discovery of this product in a mobile application is a clear sign that designers are now open to using this promising technology."
Cross-section of Samsung 512-Mbit phase-change RAM.
Packaged MCP that includes phase-change memory die.
Mobile phone main board including phase-change memory MCP
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