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Universal Memory – The Best of Flash and DRAM



/ 6 years ago

If only there was a way that we could harness the speed of DRAM and combine it with the density and non-volatility of flash memory. Well now you can, thanks to a recent new invention by the North Carolina State University.

This new ‘universal’ memory has been made possible by the use of a double floating-gate field-effect-transistor (FET).The beauty of this is that it allows any memory not being accessed to be powered down, leading to a significant cut in the amount of energy being used. Even better is that it could work for all types of computers from laptops to data servers.

So how does it work? Basically the first gate behaves a lot like DRAM; needing to refresh just as often. Then it’s as simple as upping the voltage a little bit and the data can be transferred to the second (non-volatile) gate; allowing the computer to power down the chip. When the data is needed again, it is quickly transferred back to the first gate and things continue as normal.

At the moment, only the gate structures have been built and tests are being performed to ensure the reliability and longevity of the devices. If they pass testing though, researchers are hoping to make real semiconductor memories incorporating them by as soon as next year.

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