X-Fab touts embedded NVM for single-chip designs

March 10, 2010 – X-Fab says it has come up with a single-block embedded NVRAM process featurean embedded nonvolatile memory (NVM) process that combines the benefits of quickly accessible SRAM with nonvolatile data retention of EEPROM or flash memory, achieving same or better functionality using significantly less chip area.

Creating nonvolatile RAM capabilities previously involved combining SRAM and a separate EEPROM, which requires extra functionality to handle and transfer data, plus more design effort to integrate and test that functionality.

X-Fab says its new single-block embedded SONOS-based (silicon-oxide-nitride-oxide-silicon) NVRAM offering — the first from a pure-play foundry, it claims — stores the SRAM content to the NVM in a single cycle, functionality that can be easily integrated into a single-chip solution. Customers can define memory blocks quickly and experiment with various configurations. Using less chip area enables time- and cost-savings with designs, explained X-Fab CTO Jens Kosch, in a statement.

Both the NVRAM process feature in X-Fab’s 0.18μm process ("XH018") and a supporting compiler are now available. Targeted applications are those requiring dynamic data storage and availability/protection when power supply is wshut off or lost: industrial control, automotive, data transfer systems, RAID data storage, and security data handling.

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Illustration and photograph through an electron microscope showing the cross-section
of the SONOS-based non-volatile memory cell. (Source: X-Fab)


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