Flash and EEPROM are getting more competition. The Nanomech nonvolatile memory technology by Cavendish Kinetics uses a moveable micro-encapsulated cantilever system to store information. Each submicron cantilever stores one bit. Only 25 picojoules are necessary to program a bit. And unlike flash memory, there is no potential damage to the device during programming.
Nanomech can be incorporated into standard CMOS and other processes, like gallium arsenide or silicon germanium. Consequently, it can be part of a microcontroller or intelligent memory device. It doesn't require requalification of process or design techniques. And, Nanomech devices use only native voltages, eliminating the need for bandgap references, charge pumps, or other power conversion devices.
The technology has a nondestructive read with a write/erase time on the order of 60 ns. It also has a read/write lifetime in excess of 20 million accesses. This significantly raises it above the performance of flash memory. Its random read/write capability eliminates the block erase required by flash. This incarnation of Nanomech is called CK eFlash.
Test elements have operated in temperatures up to 200°C, so Nanomech cells can be used in harsh environments. Their small size and architecture also make the cells immune to vibration and gravitational effects.
The company's one-time programming (OTP) products include CK eFuse and CK eOTP. The multiple time programming (MTP) product, CK eMTP, suits radiation-hardened applications. Third-party products using the OTP products are expected in 2005. The devices have no leakage current, and they support parallel programming of the array.