Researchers working for Macronix have emerged from their smoke-filled labs with a solution for a weakness in flash memory fadeout.
There is a problem with flash memory in that it wears out after being programmed and erased about 10,000 times. This is caused by the fact that write-erase cycles degrade insulation.
According to Phys.org, Macronix’s brilliant idea is to have a “self-healing” NAND flash memory solution that can survive over 100 million cycles.
Macronix makes NOR Flash, NAND Flash, and ROM products so it is more than interested in extending the life of flash.
Engineers had long ago worked that the way to fix Flash was to heat it up. The only problem with this was that it took a long baking time and was impractical. The entire memory chip would need heating for hours at around 250 °C.
The way that Macronix got around the problem was by redesigning a flash memory chip to include onboard heaters to anneal small groups of memory cells.
They gave a brief jolt of heat to a very restricted area within the chip to returns the cell to a “good” state.
It is not a process that has to be run all that often and can be done one sector at a time while the device is inactive.
If you stuck it under the bonnet of a smartphone it would not drain the battery, Macronix added.
For some reason there are no plans for a commercial product, probably because it could have been done ten years ago, but no one thought of it.