April 12, 2006 – Nantero Inc. says it has successfully demonstrated scalability of its nonvolatile random access memory (NRAM) technology, with fabrication and testing of a 22nm NRAM memory switch.
The company currently is in development for other conventional CMOS process nodes in production, using existing tools and processes. The NRAM switches have been tested by writing and reading data using 3nsec cycle times.
The NRAM switches are fabricated using a proprietary fabric webbing made of masses of tangled carbon nanotubes, and a ribbon of the fabric as a mechanical switch between electrodes — much like the mechanical relays in the first computers. An array pattern of ribbons of nanotube webbing can thus be formed across the chip, suspended over interconnect trenches. Sending a charge through the ribbon makes it sag down into the trenches to contact the electrodes; when the power is removed, Van der Waals Forces maintain the ribbon in its flexed state.
The results with 22nm fabrication “demonstrate that NRAM can be the standalone and embedded memory of choice,” stated Greg Schmergel, Nantero’s co-founder and CEO, adding that the company believes the process will scale down to future generations, even below the 5nm technology node.
Nantero indicated that the 22nm device was created in its Woburn, MA, lab using electron-beam lithography (no production-scale 22nm lithography yet exists). Also, the company said its NRAM process validation continues to involves LSI Logic, with whom Nantero presented initial results last summer of integration with LSI’s 0.18nm logic devices, with the goal of replacing embedded SRAM at 90nm and 65nm. ASML’s special applications group helped validate Nantero’s process with fab equipment. Nantero has raised some $32.5 million in VC funding, with another $4.5 million/year in federal support.