Yole: RRAM will return to the stand alone SCM race by 2020

Market analyst firm Yole Developpement presents its latest next-generation memory forecasts in an interesting new article. The company says that following more than 15 years of development, PCM is finally taking off in stand-alone applications due to strong support from Intel and Micron.

Emerging NVM market (2018-2023, Yole)

While STT-MRAM is expected to lead the embedded memory race, Yole says that Stand-alone RRAM will try to catch market share to PCM on SCM application. RRAM was actually expected to be the first stand-alone technology to compete with 3D XPoint, but it has suffered repeated delays due to technical challenges. Yole expects RRAM to "return to the race for SCM" after 2020, and possibly start competing with NAND for mass storage applications.

Researchers show that short weak pulses can be used to switch RRAM states

Researchers from the NIST in the US have found that short, weak energy pulses can be used to change RRAM states. This method is much more efficient and reliably than current switching techniques.

RRAM switching states (NIST)

The researchers explain that current RRAM devices use single relatively high-energy pulses in order to switch the state (on / off, or 1 / 0). This is an unreliable method. The researchers have now discovered that short pulses (only 100 picoseconds in total), even very weak ones, are useful to switch the state.

Researchers use ALD coating tech to successfully deposit RRAM functional layers

Researchers at Moscow's Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) developed a method of depositing the functional layers of an RRAM memory cell using high quality ALD coating. The researchers report that ALD enables a controllable growth of oxygen deficient oxides.

The MIPT researchers used production-proven ALD equipment made by Picosun. The researchers now want to see whether the ALD process can be scaled to an industrial-scale production process.

Yole Developpement sees $4.6 billion in sales of MRAM, RRAM and PCM memories generating $4.6 billion in 2021

Yole Developpement says that emerging Non-Volatile Memories (NVM) will generate $53 million in sales in 2015, but the market will grow quickly to $4.6 billion 2021. That's a CAGR of 110%!

Next-gen memory, time to market (Yole, 2015)

The market is still limited to niche markets due to the limited densities, but this will change in the near future, and Yole says that the clear go-to market for emerging-NVM will be storage-class memory. High-capacity SCM applications will use either phase-change memory or RRAM memory, while applications that require high endurance and speed will adopt STT-MRAM memories.