NAND flash is being used extensively in most of the mobile devices today. Given its slim form-factor and better performance, it is the primary choice of smartphone manufacturers as well as of tablet vendors. However, NAND has a short life span. Macronix has now found out a new method to enhance the life-span of NAND.
NAND is certainly a preferable storage medium, but the greatest problem with it is that it is fairly short-lived. Its life span depends on its very usage. If you erase data off a NAND flash often, its storage space begins to diminish. That is because after every time you erase, some residual charge is left.
After a number of such episodes, it becomes too time-consuming to let the memory accomplish an adequate charge level and thus, it has to be discarded. In the past, researchers have proposed a number of methods to enhance the life of a NAND flash storage.
One of such known methods is to apply heat to NAND cells and purge them of the residual charge. Until now, that had been considered a rather impractical solution, consuming too much energy and time.
However, the ROM manufacturer, Macronix, has now proposed a solution which may be able to bake NAND flash and extend the life of its cells in a more convenient and precise manner. The method involves applying heat to the NAND cells so that they change their state from conductive to insulating and use their electric pathways as a conduit to the floating gate.
Currently, NAND flashes last for 1,000 cycles, which means they have a fairly brief life. Macronix claims that with its new method, NAND flashed can be made to last for 100,000,000 cycles merely by occasionally applying 800 degree Celsius brief jolts to ‘heal’ the flash. If this method finds way into the commercial realm, it can immensely benefit NAND flash manufacturers.
Source: IEEE Spectrum