Nanochip will use an array of MEMS probes (similar to the IBM millipede project) to stores 100 gigabytes (GB) of memory on one chip. The latest flash memory chips have 64 gigabits or 8 gigabytes of storage in the lab. Samsung expects production of 64-Gb flash devices to begin in 2009. Samsung aims to have 128 gigabit (16 gigabyte) flash chips ready in the second half of 2008 in the lab (commercial in 2010). Nanochip uses polarization instead of IBM Millepede’s heat to store data. If nanochip can get the 100 GB chip working in volume then they would have a 2-3 year lead at the higher density over flash. If the 100GB chip is delayed in getting into high volume then Flash would continue to dominate. Of course with Intel backing Nanochip, if they get this working properly, Intel will be able to finance a serious move for market share. Also, the processes seem promising and look good for scaling at a good price with superior features.
Nanochip uses one micron semiconductor fabs to make our MEMs chips. This type of equipment was used over ten years ago for most semiconductor products. Therefore, the cost of building a MEMs fab to make our chips is in the tens of millions of dollars, unlike the several billion dollars needed to make a 70 nm and soon a 45 nm semiconductor fabrication facility. Furthermore, we can use the same initial semiconductor/MEMS fab to make future generations of Nanochips since we have no requirements to change our lithography as we double density every year. The design is scalable to 1 Terabyte (TB) chips, according to Nanochip.
A new type of memory technology could lead to thumb drives or digital-camera memory cards that store a terabyte of information–more than most hard drives hold today. The first examples of the new technology, which could also slash energy consumption by more than 99 percent, could be on the market within 18 months