Flash Memory - Flash Scalability

Flash Scalability

Due to its relatively simple structure and high demand for higher capacity, NAND flash memory is the most aggressively scaled technology among electronic devices. The heavy competition among the top few manufacturers only adds to the aggressiveness in shrinking the design rule or process technology node. While the expected shrink timeline is a factor of two every three years per original version of Moore's law, this has recently been accelerated in the case of NAND flash to a factor of two every two years. In November 2012, Samsung announced that it had begun production of 10 nm scale chips.

As the feature size of flash memory cells reaches the minimum limit, further flash density increases will be driven by greater levels of MLC, possibly 3-D stacking of transistors, and improvements to the manufacturing process. The decrease in endurance and increase in uncorrectable bit error rates that accompany feature size shrinking can be compensated by improved error correction mechanisms. Even with these advances, it may be impossible to economically scale flash to smaller and smaller dimensions. Many promising new technologies (such as FeRAM, MRAM, PMC, PCM, and others) are under investigation and development as possible more scalable replacements for flash.

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