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Oct 22

2nd International Workshop on Resistive RAM: Update


The 2nd International Workshop on Resistive RAM took place Oct. 8-9 in Stanford University’s Paul G. Allen Building (photo). The workshop was the second installment of an annual series organized by Stanford University and the Belgian research institute Imec. http://nmtri.stanford.edu/RRAM2012/index.html

Like most RRAM workshops, this year’s event featured numerous talks focusing on the physics of RRAM devices and their underlying switching mechanism(s). However, roughly equal attention was paid to design and architecture aspects of RRAM technology and to potential RRAM applications other than its use as a NAND replacement, an example being the talk on low power programmable logic by Munehiro Tada of LEAP/NEC.. This seemed to reflect a general feeling that the R&D efforts on RRAM of the past decade may soon yield a usable technology, or perhaps even several technologies from different companies. The most commonly discussed RRAM devices at the workshop were bipolar oxide-based devices, with various transition-metal oxides being explored.

The workshop gave particular emphasis to the question of what the requirements are for a selector device for RRAM, and how close various selector technologies are to meeting these requirements. In a panel session devoted to the selector problem, Rohit Shenoy of IBM gave a positive view that IBM’s MIEC (Mixed Ionic Electronic Conductor) selector may be a viable solution for bipolar RRAM devices, though the materials used in MIEC selectors have yet to be revealed by IBM. The panel session included discussion by the audience and the panelists about the problem on interconnect reliability. For advanced nodes, Bruce Batemen of Rambus pointed out that voltage drops, electromigration, and other issues introduce a variety of reliability and design challenges for RRAM, such as the maximum current that can be used for program or erase.

The location of the International Workshop on Resistive RAM alternates, and will return next year to Leuven, Belgium. With rapid progress being made in the field, the third installment of this series of workshops should be an interesting one.

John Jameson, Senior Member of Technical Staff, Adesto Technologies

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