Advanced Architecture and Process Techniques for High-Density, Radiation-Hardened Non-Volatile Memory
Agency / Branch:
DOD / MDA
For mission critical data storage on systems operating in natural space and nuclear weapons environments, the use of radiation hardened (RH) non-volatile memory (NVM) is imperative. Today's complex computer controlled electronic systems use NVM to store critical data for proper operation. This typically includes configuration parameters which allow the system to return to a known configuration after the loss of power. If the critical data becomes corrupted, system recovery and operation is severely impacted. Current state of the art technologies being evaluated for RH NVM include Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (MRAM) (1Mb), Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (FeRAM), chalcogenide-based Phase-change Random Access Memory (PRAM) (1Mb), and silicon-oxide-nitride-oxide-silicon (SONOS) (4Mb) based devices. Of these, the only qualified RH NVM technology commercially available today is the SONOS based memory. Development of higher bit-density SONOS memories is necessary to meet increasing system demands for critical data storage. During this effort, we will design a 128Mb RH NVM using the advanced NVM architecture and materials identified in Phase I. Relevant test structures will be fabricated in an advanced RH CMOS process to demonstrate functionality of key elements of the NVM design. Operational parameters of these structures will be characterized, including read/write times, retention, endurance, etc.
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