NSTI Nanotech 2009

Nanochip - Ultra-High Data Density MEMS Memory Device

D. Adams, N. Belov, T-K. Chou, J. Heck, B. Kim, G. Knight, Q. Ma, V. Rao, G. Tchelepi
Nanochip, Inc., US

Keywords: memory, probe storage, X-Y micro-mover, actuated cantilevers, tips, electromagnetic actuator


Nanochip developed a conceptual prototype of a probe storage device (nanochip). The device employs a ferroelectric non-volatile memory, which permits robust write, non-destructive read and simple data overwriting operations. Read-write operations require low power and can be performed very fast. The device contains: (a) an electromagnetic X-Y micro-mover featuring a large range of motion, low X-Y cross-talk, long-term stability, good shock protection and (b) an array of cantilevers with vertical and lateral electrostatic actuators and with AFM-type sharp tips (read-write heads) built on top of CMOS circuitry (read channel electronics and analog circuits for actuation control) using a low-temperature process. Without actuation the tips do not contact the memory stack. Vertical actuation allows for loading a selected set of tips onto media for read/write operations. Lateral actuators are used for adjusting multiple tips on corresponding data tracks permitting device operation over a wide temperature range. Digital electronics is located on a separate controller chip. This work shows that significant drawbacks of the earlier probe storage concepts can be overcome and brings this type of memory devices much closer to commercialization.
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