Memory has been getting more power efficient and faster with more bits for the buck. Nanochip, a start-up from Silicon Valley is developing a prototype based on IBM’s Millipede project.
The Nanochip design is a Micro-Electro-Mechanical System, or MEMS, device. A descendent of IBM’s Millipede device, it uses polarization instead of Millepede’s heat to store data.
An array of tiny probes – looking like phonograph needles, if any of you have ever seen one – less than 25 um in diameter, changes the state of the recording medium. The probes are movable – similar to the mirrors on DLP chips – so they can write more than one location. Since there are many thousands of probes, they have a lot of bandwidth.
The firm uses technology based on a combination of phase change and atomic level probes. The products are expected to be in the market in 2010 and are supposed to provide competition to flash memory.
MEMS based devices have been in the research labs for a while now. The advantages they offer are significantly lower costs compared to present day fabrication facilities.
Nanochip has received funding from Intel Capital as well. So there is much being expected here.
But yes, its a prototype and perhaps there is no point deliberating much on this until the products are there in the market. Here’s wishing for the best in compact memory innovation.