Kioxia Corporation and Western Digital Corp., has announced that the companies have developed their sixth-generation, 162-layer 3D flash memory technology. While that may be a bit of a mouthful, it’s certainly something we’ll be seeing a lot of in the coming years. The new design is their highest density and most advanced 3D flash memory to date.
What this means is smaller chips, larger capacity storage devices, but also improved performance and cost too. Moore’s Law may have been sidestepped when it comes to semiconductors but as Western Digital say themselves, Moore’s Law still proves very relevant in the world of flash storage.
Kioxia &Western Digital
“Through our strong partnership that has spanned two decades, Kioxia and Western Digital have successfully created unrivalled capabilities in manufacturing and R&D,” said Masaki Momodomi, Chief Technology Officer, Kioxia. “Together, we produce over 30 percent of the world’s flash memory bits and are steadfast in our mission to provide exceptional capacity, performance and reliability at a compelling cost. We each deliver this value proposition across a range of data-centric applications from personal electronics to data centres as well as emerging applications enabled by 5G networks, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.”
Beyond Vertical Scaling – New Architecture Leverages New Innovations
“As Moore’s Law reaches its physical limits across the semiconductor industry, there’s one place where Moore’s Law continues its relevancy—that’s in flash,” said Dr. Siva Sivaram, President of Technology & Strategy, Western Digital. “To continue these advances and meet the world’s growing data demands, a new approach to 3D flash memory scaling is critical. With this new generation, Kioxia and Western Digital are introducing innovations in vertical as well as lateral scaling to achieve greater capacity in a smaller die with fewer layers. This innovation ultimately delivers the performance, reliability and cost that customers need.”
This sixth-generation 3D flash memory features advanced architecture beyond conventional eight-stagger memory hole array and achieves up to 10 percent greater lateral cell array density compared to the fifth-generation technology.
This lateral scaling advancement, in combination with 162 layers of stacked vertical memory, enables a 40 percent reduction in die size compared to the 112-layer stacking technology, optimizing cost.
Circuit Under Array CMOS
The Kioxia and Western Digital teams also applied Circuit Under Array CMOS placement and four-plane operation, which together deliver nearly 2.4 times improvement in program performance and 10 percent improvement in read latency compared to the previous generation. I/O performance also improves by 66 percent, enabling the next-generation interface to support the ever-increasing need for faster transfer rates.
Overall, the new 3D flash memory technology reduces the cost per bit, as well as increases the manufactured bits per wafer by 70 percent, compared with the previous generation. Kioxia and Western Digital continue to drive innovation to ensure continued scaling to meet the needs of customers and their diverse applications.