Flash Memory can be found in nearly every device you use these days – from your cellular phone to your digital camera, camcorder and more. With recent developments by Nanosys, new confidence of doubling flash memory capacity has grown with self-assembling metal nanocrystals added to the process.
As reported by Technology Review, “You end up with something that looks like a bunch of skyscrapers,” says Don Barnetson, director of market development for nonvolatile memory products at Nanosys. These skyscrapers electrically interact with each other in undesirable ways that can make the chip unreliable. Flash-memory cells hold electrons, which represent bits of data, on a small piece of polysilicon called a floating gate. The floating gate is surrounded by a thick layer of insulating material that keeps the electrons from leaking out. But as the cells shrink, they begin to electrically interfere with each other. By replacing the floating gate with nanocrystals, explains Barnetson, engineers can reduce the amount of insulating material needed and shorten the cells, eliminating the interference.