Ferroelectric memories are already available from Ramtron and Texas Instruments, but their densities are much less than flash, relegating their use to niche applications where their higher speed and longer life make up for their lack in capacity. Flash memories are higher density, but slow to read/write, which is why for over a decade, materials researchers have sought a ferroelectric material that could work in flash. Now Yale researchers say we should give up the quest for ferroelectric flash, and instead adapt ferroelectrics to DRAM, which could propel FeDRAM past flash.
Researchers at Yale University and the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC) claim that ferroelectrics are more appropriate for replacing DRAM than flash. Current DRAM technology has to be refreshed every few milliseconds; ferroelectric materials could last minutes without freshing. Yale and SRC researchers recently demonstrated an experimental ferroelectric transistor for FeDRAMs that retained information 1,000 times longer than DRAMs, consumed 20 times less power and can, they claim, be scaled to even the most advanced nodes on the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors.