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Opticom plastic memory hits volume manufacturing hurdle

Opticom ASA, a research company that has attracted investment and research contracts from Intel Corp. for its polymeric three-dimensional memory technology, has said that progress has been hit by delays due to volume manufacturing issues.

Opticom ASA, a research company that has attracted investment and research contracts from Intel Corp. for its polymeric three-dimensional memory technology, has said that progress has been hit by delays due to volume manufacturing issues.

The company posted a presentation on the progress it is making with the technology, to coincide with the publication of its first quarter's results. The presentation could be found at its website when this story was first posted.

The company did not say what the volume manufacturing problems were but commented, “alternative routes to success are identified, work in progress.”

The presentation does say that most of the major technology challenges in building a hybrid plastic-on-silicon memory have been overcome and that the operational voltage can be contrived to be NAND flash compatible. Similarly cell fatigue and memory speed are said to meet commercial requirements.

On the supporting silicon side Opticom claimed to have achieved many successes including: designing circuitry capable of operating the hybrid plastic-silicon memory, achieved appropriate sense amplifier discrimination, multi-layer control and built silicon that operates according to design.

However, in parallel with the unspecified manufacturing problem, Opticom's presentation said the company would pursue all-plastic memory technology but that this does not involve co-operation with Intel.

In 1998 Opticom started to attract the interest of Intel when it claimed to have made a number of breakthroughs in a plastic multi-layer memory technolog that it said could show higher density than silicon-based memories.

According to the latest presentation Opticom started with hybrid designs in 1998 because of the immaturity of production of thin-film transistors in plastic. Recent progress has shown that thin-film transistors in plastic are possible and this together with low costs of manufacturing could present an alternative outlet for the technology.

Large area printing techniques offer costs at a fraction of hybrid plastic-silicon memory and could make Opticom's technology a candidate for a disposable memory, the company said.