Western Digital’s Efforts on Non-Volatile Memory
The NVM group within the Western Digital Research team is tasked with evaluation of all the candidate NVM memory cell designs.
Not only must a memory cell hold data, but it must also retain the data for a commercially acceptable time. The speed of the cell must fall into the targeted latency for SCM, and the lifetime of the cell must meet the requirements for SCM. The cell must be manufacturable using current silicon fabrication equipment, and the technology must be scalable to smaller and smaller nodes if it is to compete in the data storage market.
To accomplish this mission, the NVM team has to investigate existing and new materials, fabricate memory cells, and subsequently test those cells and characterize the cells against the target specification for an SCM NVM cell.
Promising memory cell technologies need to be optimized, no cell will meet the full specification on first examination, those cells with promise must be optimized (materials, manufacturing processes, etc.). In addition, the change in cell properties with size must be investigated to determine if the technology is scalable.
Once a suitable memory cell has been identified the NVM Research team works with other teams within Western Digital to investigate what would be required to productize the technology and use it to make a product. This requires efforts ranging from integration into an operating system to building a fab to produce the new technology.