IMEC reaches RRAM filament breakthrough

Nanotech research firm IMEC has announced details of its DRAM chip development, as well as showcasing advances in its next generation memory type, RRAM.

The Belgian nanoelectronics research lab showed possible areas in the DRAM industry with the potential of 3D integration of commercial DRAM onto a logic IC.

IMEC claims that this will help bring about a new generation of low powered DRAM mobile memory.

Using its 3D electronic design automation tools, including thermal models, IMEC has found a way to design 3D stacked integrated circuits.

This has been achieved by creating a method which is able to reduce intensity of hotspots on the logic die.

Such hotspots cause temperature increases on the DRAM die, potentially leading to a reduction in retention time for DRAM devices.

However, the DRAM cannot be isolated from the logic die as the close proximity helps spread heat, reducing the intensity of the hotspots.

Experiments conducted by IMEC, in conjunction with various partners including GloFo, Intel, Samsung and others, have enabled methods to design 3D stacked ICs.

According to the company’s president, Luc Van den hove, the developments are an important step towards using DRAM-on-logic for mobile applications.

IMEC has also made breakthroughs with its DRAM leakage model.

To meet the DRAM capacitor scaling roadmap, IMEC wants to maintain leakage currents and has enabled a record low.

This worked by adding improvements to its existing RuOx/STO/TiN stack model.

IMEC claims its advancements have opened the door for further potential improvements, with the STO model showing promise for DRAM scaling.

IMEC is hoping for the future implementation of resistive random access memory, or RRAM.

The memory type is a potential successor to non-volatile memory, and IMEC claims to have made breakthroughs.

Now, using a model, the company is getting its head around understanding the properties of filament. The filament is used to make a diaelectric in RRAM switch from insulating to conducting.

IMEC understands that the minimal achievable current after reset “depends on the physical nature of the filaments” and claims to have a “direct method to predict that current from the filament properties”.

In simple terms, it’s now possible to choose the properties of the filament to keep the RRAM stable.