Flash memory breakthrough in Taiwan

By on December 3, 2012
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Heat increases flash life.

One of the biggest drawbacks of flash based memory (found in USB, Smartphones and Tablets as well as Solid State Drives) is that their lifecycle is very low compared to mechanical hard drives. As memory is erased and rewritten on the cells of a flash drive, their life deteriorates over time, such that the average flash memory will be unusable after around 10,000 write/ erase cycles.

With some recent research the engineers at Macronix, a flash based memory maker in Taiwan, have come up with a self-healing system that extends the life of flash memory from over 10,000 to over 100 million cycles. While initially it was proposed to heat the entire chip at 250°C for hours, this was an impractical solution, especially for consumer based devices. The other alternative was to send a jolt of heat of 800°C to a very small part of the flash drive over a few milliseconds which will return the cells to a good state.

Macronix will be presenting this new breakthrough at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) from December 10 to 12 in San Francisco reports Phys.org. While current consumer level flash memory is good enough for a great many years, this new research will essentially remove the issue of SSDs or any other flash based storage suddenly failing without warning.


From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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