On March 20, Nanosys, Inc. announced that Hynix Semiconductor Inc. will collaborate with Nanosys to employ Nanosys' quantum dot flash memory technologies (QDM) for NAND based flash memory. Hynix is the third major semiconductor manufacturer to sign up for access to Nanosys’ technology. Intel invested $38 million in Nanosys’ second round financing that closed in May 2003 and subsequently, announced a technical collaboration in 2004 to explore the use of nanocrystals in memory devices. In 2006, the collaboration was expanded to include Intel’s NAND flash memory partner, Micron Technology.
NAND-based nanocrystal memories can potentially provide a scaling path for current floating gate (FG) technologies by reducing the capacitive coupling between cells and eliminating SILC. The main challenge has been the controllability and uniformity of the nanocrystal size and distribution with technology scaling.
Nanosys claims to have solved this issue. Nanosys’ QDM with proprietary ligands are applied with a traditional spin-on process and self-assemble into a consistent monolayer on the wafer. The integration involves fewer process steps than either FG or nitride charge trap flash (CTF) alternatives while offering a very large voltage threshold window for enhanced MLC capability.
If QDM can deliver on its promise, we could see QDM enter into production at the 3xnm node and beyond.