2D materials produce a semi-floating gate memory that falls somewhere between DRAM and SRAM Image: School of Microelectronics, Fudan University This schematic shows the design for a new semi-floating gate memory.
Researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai, China have leveraged two-dimensional (2D) materials to fabricate a relatively new gate design for transistors that may fill the gap between volatile and non-volatile memory.
The result is what the researchers are dubbing a quasi-non-volatile device that combines the benefits of static random access memory (SRAM) and dynamic random access memory (DRAM). The new device will make up for DRAMs limited data retention ability and its need to be frequently refreshed and SRAMs high cost.
In research described in Nature Nanotechnology , the Chinese researchers leveraged a gate design that has been gaining popularity, recently called semi-floating gate (SFG) memory technology. The SFG gate design is similar to a typical field effect transistor except that SFG transistor can remember the applied voltage from the gate.
The researchers have shown that the 2D SFG memory they have fabricated has 156 times longer refresh time (10 seconds) than DRAM (64 milliseconds), which saves power, and ultrahigh-speed writing operations on nanosecond timescales (15 nanoseconds), which puts it on par with DRAM (10 nanoseconds). This new device also boosts the writing operation performance to approximately 106 times faster than other memories based on 2D materials.
These improvements to refresh time and writing operations suggest that the quasi-non-volatile memory has the potential to bridge the gap between volatile and non-volatile memory technologies and decrease the power consumption demanded by frequent refresh operations, enabling a high-speed and low-power random access memory.
The first floating gate transistor was made in 1967 and since then has become a mainstay of nonvolatile memory technology. However, the writing/erasing speed of a floating gate transistor is around one millisecond, making it slower than the CPU, prohibiting its use where a high writing speed is needed.
The researchers saw that there was a chance to improve the performance of a floating gate transistor because so much of its performance is based on its...