IBM Announces Breakthrough with Phase-change Memory

Written by John Ponio    Thursday, 30 June 2011 19:39

IBM Logo

If you haven't heard, IBM has been working extensively with PCM, or phase-change memory. It uses a compound called chalcogenide, which is also used in rewritable discs. It's regularly a crystalline solid, but when it's heated it becomes amorphous. Using the two different physical states, data can be stored with two bits per cell in a 200 k-cell array with a 90nm process. A big issue with using this technology is that the cells can drift randomly, causing data corruption. The breakthrough IBM announced is that with a special coding method, they have found a way around that problem. With flash memory already being so fast, you may wonder why they're interested in PCM. It's partly because even the best flash memory around can't compete with PCM's 10-microsecond latency. PCM is basically a much, much faster method. If you're interested in reading all of the details, feel free to read them all here.