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HP, Hynix push memristor commercialization

Posted: 02 Sep 2010  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:memristor  resistive RAM  memory 

Looking to commercialize memristor technology, Hewlett-Parkard Co. has signed a joint development agreement with Hynix Semiconductor Inc. The joint effort will develop new materials and process integration technology to transfer HP's memristor technology from R&D to commercial development in the form of resistive RAM (ReRAM).

The deal is non-exclusive, and HP may work with others in the ReRAM arena. However, HP itself does not want to be in the ReRAM business, according to Stan Williams, senior fellow at HP and founding director of the information and quantum systems laboratory at HP Labs.

HP hopes to eventually 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 working with other companies on 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.

Source: HP Data Central. (Click on image to enlarge.)

FeRAM, MRAM, phase-change and ReRAM are next-generation memory technologies.

ReRAM is non-volatile memory with low power consumption that is seen as a potential replacement for flash memory. It is also seen as a potential universal storage medium that can behave as flash, DRAM or even a hard drive, according to HP.

End-user products based on ReRAMs are expected 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.


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