The FeTRAMs are similar to state-of-the-art ferroelectric random access memories, FeRAMs, which are in commercial use but represent a relatively small part of the overall semiconductor market. Both use ferroelectric material to store information in a nonvolatile fashion, but unlike FeRAMS, the new technology allows for nondestructive readout, meaning information can be read without losing it.
I’m always pleasantly surprised to read that work is still being done on alternate materials for Random Access Memory (RAM). I was following closely developments in the category of ferroelectric RAM by folks like Samsung and HP. Very few of these products promised enough return on investment to be developed into products. And some notable efforts by big manufacturers were abandoned altogether.
If this research effort can be licensed to a big chip manufacturer and not turned into a form of patent trolling ammunition I would feel the effort was not wasted. I think too often most recently these patented technologies are not used as a means of advancing the art of computer technology. Instead they are a portfolio to a litigator seeking rent on the patented technology.
Due to the frequency of abandoned projects in the alternative DRAM technology category, I’m hoping the compatibility of this chip’s manufacturing process with existing chip making technology will be a big step forward. A paradigm shifting technology like magnetic RAM might just push us to the next big mountain top of power conservation, performance and capability that the CPU enjoyed from 1969 to roughly 2005 when chip speeds began to plateau.