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HP, Hynix delay memristor debut

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By eeNews Europe

Williams previously said HP and Hynix, now SK Hynix, planned to launch a resistive memory as a replacement for flash memory in the summer of 2013. That estimate came during an International Electronics Forum in October 2011, when HP indicated that an early application could be solid state drives. The decision to delay was include a roundtable discussion posted recently on the Web site of the Kavli Foundation (Oxnard, CA).

The panel discussion, entitled "How atomic scale devices are transforming electronics," also included: Michelle Simmons, director of the Australian Center of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, University of New South Wales; and Paul Weiss, Kavli Professor at UCLA and Director of the California NanoSystems Institute.

"In terms of commercialization, we’ll have something technologically viable by the end of next year," Williams said, adding that the timing of any launch would be influenced by market demand for such memories.

"Our partner, Hynix, is a major producer of flash memory, and memristors will cannibalize its existing business by replacing some flash memory with a different technology," Williams said. "So the way we time the introduction of memristors turns out to be important. There’s a lot more money being spent on understanding and modeling the market than on any of the research."

Williams said memristor research was essentially complete, adding: "If you know what you’re doing – and there’s a lot of intellectual property involved – literally any foundry could make memristors tomorrow."

The terminology used for resistive memories has itself become contentious, perhaps for reasons related to patent language (see HP responds to memristor debate). Williams said "memristor" refers to a two-terminal resistive memory. However, other companies and research institutes also are working on two-terminal memories, often of multilayered metal-oxide composition, referring to the devices as RRAM or ReRAM, for resistive random access memory.


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