Micron claims first high-volume production of 45-nm PCM

July 19, 2012 // By Dylan McGrath
Claiming to offer the first phase change memory (PCM) in high-volume production, U.S. memory chip vendor Micron Technology has announced the availability of a 45-nm multi-chip module for mobile devices featuring PCM.

Micron (Boise, Idaho) said its PCM solution for mobile devices features 1-gigabit (Gb) PCM plus 512-megabit (Mb) LPDDR2 in a multi-chip package.

The 1-Gb product is targeted at high-end feature phones, which can benefit from the speed of the read in PCM and simplified software development, according Philippe Berge, senior director of NOR, PCM, e.MMC business for Micron's Wireless Solutions Group. Berge said forthcoming Micron products would target smartphones and other mobile products.

"This is the first product using 45-nm technology, which is really validating high-volume manufacturing of this disruptive technology," Berge said. "Based on that, we are going to have some kind of proliferation in both directions to extend our coverage of the high-volume feature phone market and also later on to address the smartphone market."

PCM claims advantages over traditional memory devices in areas such as boot time, simplified software development, performance and overwrite capability. The technology is also said to be power efficient.

However, the technology has hit a number of obstacles on the road to deployment. detractors argue that it will never be cost competitive with traditional types of memory, and there are also lingering concerns about PCM's temperature sensitivity.

Berge said that improvements in non-volatile memory technology over the past 20 years have been evolutionary in nature, but that PCM is a truly disruptive technology.

"It's natural that people need to touch it to really be convinced that it is manufacturable and that it delivers according to expectations," Berge said. "We are now at the stage that we can demonstrate that PCM delivers according to our plans. And that will really be the difference."

Micron said the design-optimizing shared interface between LPDDR2 and PCM is fully compliant with Jedec industry standards.

Micron maintains that its PCM product line has established a foothold in the wireless industry, citing as eivdence relationships with global customers and enablers, engagement with device manufactures and cooperation with Intel Mobile Communications,