Unisantis Unveils Dynamic Flash Memory as DRAM Alternative

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

May 27, 2021

News

Unisantis Unveils Dynamic Flash Memory as DRAM Alternative

Unisantis Electronics Singapore unveiled the company’s developments in Dynamic Flash Memory (DFM) technology

Per Unisantis, the developments offer a step forward in the industry’s search for alternatives to DRAM for future low-cost high-density embedded or standalone memory applications. DFM is able to offer ideal speeds and density when compared to DRAM or other types of volatile memory.

DFM was presented this week for the first time at the 13th IEEE International Memory Workshop (IMW), by its inventors, Drs. Koji Sakui and Nozomu Harada from Unisantis. Per the company, DFM demonstrated not only performance benefits but also for its strategy of having been developed as an easy-to-implement DRAM replacement. Dr. Sakui’s paper entitled “Dynamic Flash Memory with Dual Gate Surrounding Gate Transistor (SGT)”, was presented publicly on the 18th May.

DFM takes an approach to overcome limitations of conventional volatile memory such as DRAM, with its inherent short, regular and power-hungry refresh cycles, as well as destructive read processes. DFM is also a type of volatile memory, but since it does not rely on capacitors it has fewer leak paths, it has no connection between switching transistors and a capacitor. The result is a cell design with the potential for increases in transistor density and, because it not only offers block refresh, but as a Flash memory it offers block erase. According ot the company, DFM reduces the frequency and the overhead of the refresh cycle and is capable of delivering improvements in speed and power compared to DRAM.

By utilizing TCAD simulation, Unisantis has shown DFM has potential to increase density 4X compared to DRAM. The scaling of DRAM has almost stopped at 16Gb, according to recent IEEE ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuits Conference) papers. Modelling DFM at 4F2 cell density shows how structured DFM is. The design and development of DFM means Gb/mm2 improvements, and today’s limits on DRAM (currently 16Gb) could see increases to 64Gb memory using DFM’s cell structure.

Replacing DRAM is a major challenge for the industry, not only because DRAM today accounts for over 50% of the current market demand for memory (Yole Development, 2020). Forecasts also suggest the need for this type of low cost, high density DRAM by 2025 will continue to grow and exceed $100Bn. But technology challenges also lie ahead presented by some of the proposed replacements, including capacitor-less DRAM, ZRAM or simplistic GAA and Nanosheet approaches, all which have their own limitations compared to DFM.

For more information, visit: www.unisantis.com

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Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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