The California Institute of Technology has pioneered a unique method of producing floating gates, a component of flash memory previously subject to electron leakage. The method, being tested by Agere Systems, starts with the production of spherical nanocrystals ranging in size from 3 to 13 nanometers, which are then coated with silicon dioxide in an oxidation furnace. The nanocrystals are then “sprayed” onto a wafer using aerosol deposition to form a thin, dense, uniform layer of silicon-based nanocrystals that prevent electron leakages that occur when device shrink in size.
Researchers say they have created breakthrough flash memory cells that have charged and dissipated for one million cycles without significant degradation. They hope to develop commercially viable process that would improve flash memory performance and costs.
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