IBM phase change memory technology to achieve 3 bits of data per cell

According to the report of the Physicists Organization Network, scientists from the Zurich Research and Development Center at Zurich announced on the 17th that they had made a major breakthrough in the field of Phase Change Memory (PCM) technology - the first time a single phase-change memory cell stores 3 bits of data. The latest research will help reduce the cost of PCM, and it is expected to accelerate the pace of industrialization, and ultimately provide a simple and fast storage method for exponentially growing data in the era of the Internet of Things.

The current memory types include the most common dynamic random access memory (DRAM), hard disk, and flash memory. In the past few years, PCM, as a potential universal storage technology, has become a “rising star” in the storage industry due to its superior read/write speed, durability, and non-volatile properties. PCM does not lose data like DRAM when power is off, can withstand at least 10 million write cycles, and flash memory can only tolerate 3000 write cycles. However, since the economic benefits of existing memory technology are much higher than new alternative technologies, phase-change memory technology has not yet flourished in the market.

The PCM material has two stable states, an amorphous state and a crystalline state. In order to store "0" and "1" in the cells of the PCM, a high or medium current is first applied thereto, "0" is programmed into an amorphous state, "1" is incorporated into a crystalline state or vice versa; Applying a low voltage to it can read back the written data. In 2011, IBM had implemented the saving of one bit of data in a single phase change memory cell. Now, IBM continues to successfully store 3 bits of data in a single unit for the first time.

One of the authors of the paper, Harris Pustis, said: “Phase-change memory is the first example of general-purpose memory that combines the advantages of DRAM and flash memory to solve the challenges we currently face. Each cell can store 3 Bit-sized data is an important milestone, because at this density, the cost of PCM will be much lower than that of DRAM, which is close to flash memory."

Researchers point out that in the future, PCM can be used as a stand-alone or fast buffer storage area and can be combined with flash memory and other storage methods. For example, storing the operating system of the mobile phone in the PCM, the mobile phone can be started in seconds; or the enterprise database can be stored in the PCM for handling urgent affairs such as financial transactions. (Reporter Liu Xia)

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