A group of researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indore with prolonged joint effort of different specialised laboratories including Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore and Shinshu University, Japan have given research solution to need of a low-cost eco-friendly universal non-volatile memory solution.
This innovation will replace different memory technologies in our laptop, desktop and mobile etc., with one device one technology. The work is of immense importance considering current memory technology scenario. Although, there are much densified integrated chip available today; yet, the new electronics market is keen for more and more densification, so as to satisfy the needs of emerging technologies. Memory in different forms such as static/dynamic random-access memory (SRAM/DRAM), flash memory, hard disk, etc., serve different purposes in different ways. To elucidate, flash memory cards and hard disks are non-volatile and cost-effective but are slow, whereas, SRAM and DRAM are fast but volatile and expensive. Consequently, there is a need to abate the inadequacies and insufficiencies of the existing memory devices and develop a technology that can be universal. This innovation is an absolute solution to the prerequisites of a universal non-volatile memory with high-density, low-power consumption and low-cost-per-bit along with high operation speed and high scalability.
We have filed a patent for this innovation. Also this work has been published by USA journal “Applied Physics Letters”. This innovation in particular is about a novel work in the area of “Device Physics”, where we have illustrated a memory device as fabricated by Dual Ion Beam Sputtering (DIBS) for the first time with excellent performance parameters. Two different labs, i.e., Hybrid Nanodevice Research Group and Low Power Nanoelectronics Research Group at IIT, Indore have tried to fabricate and characterise the memory device. Researchers at RRCAT, Indore and Shinshu university, Japan have played an important role in trying to investigate the underlying principle behind functioning of device by using different experimental techniques.
Device uses cheap Aluminum electrodes in place of generally used high-cost platinum or gold electrodes. Zinc oxide used as switching layer of the device is environment-friendly, low-cost and easily available. Eco-friendly and economical material ZnO has been used as switching layer. Use of Al electrodes with ZnO, will lead to an economical route to fabricate low cost memory devices. In addition, this device exhibits basic properties of a very new memory technology i.e., “Memristor”. It can therefore be implemented as Resistive Random Access Memory (RRAM). Device displays stable set/reset voltages with excellent endurance and retention performances.
Most important aspect of device is its’ forming-free behavior as device does not necessitate any post-processing which is usually required with common device fabrication methods. It is attributed to the use of novel technology, i.e., DIBS to fabricate the device which is very revolutionising. Using this device, as a basic unit cell of memory and after further scaling and densifying it in the form of cross-bars, a very high-yield memory device can be fabricated by DIBS to meet industry needs of a universal non-volatile memory. Our work could be very crucial for realisation of highly reliable memory devices in future.
This innovation story is part of thesis work of the writer “Amitesh Kumar”. The research team includes a) research scholars at IIT Indore: Amitesh Kumar, Mangal Das, Vivek Garg and Brajendra Singh Sengar, b) Professor at Shinshu University: Myo Than Htay, c) Scientist at RRCAT Indore: Shailendra Kumar and Professors at IIT Indore: Abhinav Kranti and Shaibal Mukherjee.
Dual ion beam sputtered cost-effective and non-volatile resistive memory devices
Inventors: Shaibal Mukherjee and Amitesh Kumar
Patent Application No. 201621020046, June 11, 2016
Amitesh Kumar, Mangal Das, Vivek Garg, Brajendra Singh Sengar, Myo Than Htay, Shailendra Kumar, Abhinav Kranti, and Shaibal Mukherjee, “Forming-free high-endurance Al / ZnO / Al memristor fabricated by dual ion beam sputtering,” Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 253509, no. 110, pp. 1–6, 2017.