Semiconductors are on a path to greater efficiency and even further miniaturisation after Weebit Nano (ASX: WBT) announced that it had reached a significant milestone in the development of its ReRAM technology.
Weebit demonstrated a 1Mb array at 40 nanometres using silicon oxide – considered to be a huge leap for memory technology that could allow a significant expansion in memory capacity, smaller chip size, lower operating temperatures and greater longevity of memory devices.
The company intends to transform memory storage currently being used by all electronic devices ranging from smartphones to large data centres that offer ubiquitous cloud storage for millions of users around the world.
The 1Mb initial tests, conducted in CEA/Leti facilities in Grenoble, France, demonstrated the capability of addressing and programming nearly all of the memory cells.
“These are very impressive results for a first batch”, the company said, and are especially encouraging as they were achieved without using performance improvement techniques such as redundancy, which are commonly used in the memory industry to achieve programmability of 100% of the array cells.
Weebit Nano says that its ReRAM technology offers superior capacity compared to what is currently being used across most of the embedded non-volatile memory market – a prime market segment being targeted for disruption by the company.
This market is currently estimated to be worth over US$25 billion per year and includes various applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology.
The market segment could potentially see significant growth over the coming years as demands for memory storage continue to rise on the back of greater content being created at steadily increasing rates of quality. The advent of cloud computing is also putting pressure on digital service providers to offer larger memory capacities.
Welcoming the next generation
With the introduction of faster and more energy-efficient memories like ReRAM, this market could also facilitate a much faster development of the next generation of technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, and thereby become a “cornerstone of machine learning and artificial intelligence,” according to Weebit Nano.
“Our technology will be able to address the vast majority of the non-volatile memory demand in embedded memory applications, so we can now proceed to the next step of preparing for productisation. We have already held initial discussions with various leading global companies in the consumer and memory domains. With the achievement of this globally significant milestone we now intend to progress these discussions,” said Coby Hanoch, CEO of Weebit Nano.
One of the key commercial advantages Weebit Nano hopes to capitalise on is the fact that its 40 nanometer 1Mb arrays can be manufactured using existing processes and existing manufacturing equipment, therefore allowing its products to remain low-cost and able to capture a larger portion of end-users.
Last month, the Israel-based semiconductor company extended its partnership agreement with French research institute Leti, first signed in 2016, to aid the development and optimisation of its ground-breaking memory technology that promises to supersede existing flash memory.
“Weebit Nano’s SiOx ReRAM technology can be manufactured using existing processes with the existing equipment in production lines, as opposed to other technologies that use non-standard materials. Consequently, you can see why we believe we have significant advantages in harnessing this massive market opportunity. Using standard materials has enabled us to achieve this milestone significantly quicker than any competitive ReRAM technology”, said Mr Hanoch.
Today’s milestone news helped Weebit Nano shares to reach a high of 7 cents per share in early morning trade, up around 12% for the day.