Feasibility Study 10

Feasibility of Compound Semiconductor Non-volatile RAM Manufacture on Si Substrates

Study Lead: Prof Manus Hayne, Lancaster University

The technology behind the silicon-based processor and memory chips at the heart of all computers and electronic devices emerged in the 1970s. The memory chips, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), are fast, but volatile, meaning that information is lost unless it is refreshed 10ā€™s of times per second. Furthermore, when data is read from DRAM it is destroyed (destructive read), and needs to be reprogrammed, which is inconvenient. In this project we will investigate the manufacturability of an innovative and completely new type of memory, one which fully exploits the opportunities for quantum design and engineering of materials and devices that are available in the compound semiconductor family. These memories are expected to be as fast as DRAM, but are non-volatile and with non-destructive read (NVRAM). Furthermore, despite this intrinsic robustness the energy needed to write or erase the data is substantially lower than for DRAM. Computers and electronic gadgets of the future using such memories would be fast, boot-free (instantly on or off) and consume significantly less power.

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