Samsung Electronics has developed a prototype flash memory chip that has a capacity equal to the company’s current largest commercial flash memory but at a smaller physical size.
The new chip can store 4GB or 512MB of memory and has a memory gate that is 70 nanometres in size. Samsung is currently mass producing 4GB chips with 120 nanometre, or 0.12 micron, memory gates and is also preparing to begin production of 90 nanometre versions.
The higher density chips are important for applications such as memory cards. Because the cards are a fixed size, the only way to create higher capacity versions is to cram more memory inside and that means higher density chips. They will also help engineers keep the size of portable electronics devices, such as digital music players, mobile phones or digital still cameras, small while increasing the internal memory capacity.
Since the development of a 256M-bit flash memory chip in 1999, the Seoul-based chip maker has managed to double memory density every year and this latest announcement continues that trend. What’s more, Samsung expects it to continue, spokesperson, Sonia Kim, said.
With its ability to keep data in memory even when power is turned off, flash memory can be found in millions of digital electronics products.
Samsung said it expected the global market for NAND-type flash memory to be $US3 billion this year and jump to $US16 billion by 2007.
The company said it was targeting annual sales growth of 70 per cent from $US400 million in 2001 and $US1.1 billion in 2002.
Samsung, along with Toshiba, leads the flash memory market, according to the most recent data from market research company, IDC.