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Blast Of Heat Improves Flash Memory Lifespan

Blast Of Heat Improves Flash Memory Lifespan

Onboard heaters can increase the life span of flash memory chips from 10,000 read and write cycles up to 100 million cycles…

Taiwanese researchers have developed new technology that can increase the lifespan of flash memory by using short bursts of heat. Currently flash memory can only perform 10,000 read and write cycles, but the new method could increase that ability up to 100 million cycles.

It’s long been know that heat could recover damaged memory, but since the method requires baking the chips in an oven at 250 degree Celsius for hours the method was seen as an impractical solution. Researchers at Macronix have figured out a work around by redesigning flash memory chips with onboard heaters. The tiny intense heaters expose the chips to temperatures of up to 800 degree Celsius for a brief period of time.

high heat improves lifespan of flash memory

Blast of Heat Improves Lifespan of Flash Memory

Image Credit: Ambuj Saxena, 2012.

Test showed that high temperatures helped recover the damaged memory locations to full working order, and that applying such a technique could increase the lifespan up of the chip to 100 million cycles. According to the company the re-designed low-power chips should not significantly reduce the battery life of portable devices.

While it may seem counterintuitive to apply such high temperatures to flash memory, the company says that its chip is safe because very small areas are being heat for just a few milliseconds.

is now testing how reliable the new chips are, however since running billions of read and write cycles takes time, it will take months be for the true specifications of the new flash memory chips will be revealed. Nevertheles, Macronix is in the process of commercializing its product but gave no dates for when we can expect to the technology in new gadgets.

The paper due to be presented at the International Electron Devices Meeting 2012, December 10th – 13th.

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  1. High heat helps 'heal' flash memory chips. BBC, 12/03/2012.
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