LONDON — A resistive RAM non-volatile memory technology that could be embedded in SoCs and used in multilayered terabyte memory ICs is being brought to market by a well-backed and well-connected startup called Crossbar Inc.
The company, based in Santa Clara, California, has a working array that it claims validates its silver-ion based technology as a replacement for traditional non-volatile memory. This working chip is a CMOS access controller monolithically integrated with a memory array.
George Minassian, CEO of Crossbar, told EE Times that his company's embedded ReRAM technology will be available in 2014 and could be in the field in products such as microcontrollers in 2015. High-density monolithic memories based on the technology would then follow within a few quarters, he predicted.
Crossbar's memory technology is one of a number of alternative ReRAM offerings being researched by the industry. Most of these are trying to achieve equivalent or superior performance to NAND flash memory while being able to scale beyond the perceived two-dimensional limit for NAND flash at about 15 nanometers.
The resistence-switching mechanism within Crossbar's memory is based on the formation of a filament by the movement of silver ions from the top electrode within amorphous silicon. Source: Crossbar Inc.
Crossbar, founded in 2010, was formed to commercialize a body of memory device research based on metal-ion migration and filament formation within amorphous silicon that was being led by Professor Wei Lu at the University of Michigan. Professor Lu co-founded Crossbar and serves the company as chief technology officer. However, his amorphous silicon cross-point memory research was being nurtured by venture capital company Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) for a couple years prior to Crossbar's formation, according to Minassian.
The company has received $25 million in Series A and B rounds of funding and is backed by venture capital firms Artiman Ventures, KPCB, and Northern Light. Minassian told EE Times that Crossbar plans to demonstrate its memory array prototype at the upcoming Flash Memory Summit Aug. 13 to 15 as a signal that it is ready to begin product development.