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Memory device is super-tough.

The Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Vehicles Directorate is researching the potential of an inexpensive, nonvolatile memory device that is virtually impervious to radiation damage, NASA reports. Designed for space and military applications, it will replace current memory and storage solutions such as flash memory, electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), dynamic random access memory (DRAM), and hard disk drive devices.

"The technology, called chalcogenide-based random access memory (C-RAM), may one day pervade commercial memory products, from smart appliances and desktop computers, to new consumer products," NASA says. "Developed more than 20 years ago, chalcogenide materials have evolved to the point of displaying remarkable properties. The key to these properties is the phase change in the materials when they change from an amorphous state to a crystalline state by laser heating. The resulting changes in the film's reflectivity or resistivity are read with a low-intensity laser."

The C-RAM's information storage capacity is said to be 256 times greater than the best space-hardened, nonvolatile memory devices available today, and is four times the capacity of today's best space-hardened, volatile SRAM.
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Publication:Tooling & Production
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2000
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