Making memory: Phase-change memory devices are mass-produced on silicon wafers such as the one above.
In February, Intel and STMicroelectronics announced a new type of phase-change memory technology that doubles the storage capacity of each memory cell. Edward Dollar, chief technology officer of Numonyx, suspects that this improved phase-change memory, which has been transferred to Numonyx, could be ready to be mass-produced by the end of the decade. By doubling the capability of phase-change memory, he says, “it starts to become competitive” with the type of flash memory used in solid-state hard drives.
Samsung is also developing phase-change memory. But Numonyx is in a good position to lead the industry in phase-change memory, says Jim Handy, an analyst at Objective Analysis, a market research firm. “In phase-change memory, there’s really only a handful of companies who are dabbling in the technology,” he says.
Numonyx is funded by $150 million from the Francisco Partners investment firm, and it makes use of more than 2,500 issued patents; another 1,000 patents are pending from its parent companies.