Intel, ST Micro create phase-change memory company Numonyx

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Intel, ST Microelectronics and Francisco Partners have completed the transaction to create Numonyx, a new semiconductor company that will be developing and manufacturing NOR/NAND flash memory as well as phase change memory (PCM) devices.

Numonyx is next to the IM Intel’s second joint venture to produce flash memory. However, Numonyx is especially interesting as it will develop future PCM, a new non-volatile memory technology that could replace flash one day. Other than flash, PCM uses the characteristics of chalcogenide glass, switching the state of the material between crystalline and amorphous through heat. The change of state results in a change of its electrical resistivity and is the underlying concept of storing data with this technology.

Intel recently unveiled a PCM chip code-named “Alverstone”, which featured a 256 Mb multi-level (2 bit) cell structure manufactured in 90 nm.  

Intel said that it “transferred the assets associated with its NOR flash memory business and certain assets related to the company's phase change memory initiatives to Numonyx” and holds 45.1% of the joint venture.  ST Microelectronics holds 48.6% while Francisco Partners got 6.3% in exchange for a $150 million cash investment. Numonyx will also get $450 million in debt financing.

2500 Intel employees will be joining Numonyx.