ReRAM is an emerging technology that combines the advantages of both RAM and Flash: The ReRAM is non-volatile, fast, cost effective and does not degrade even after many Program/Erase cycles. It has been studied and developed for the last decade and its commercial usage is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years.
The major focus of ReRAM technology is to replace traditional Flash memory and is widely viewed as the “most likely to succeed” Flash replacement, since it provides the performance and manufacturability advantages over competing replacement alternatives.
Because of its simple structure, a ReRAM cell is small, fast, easy to stack, and consumes extremely low power. The challenge in ReRAM is choosing the appropriate resistive material which must change its chemical or physical structure while low voltage is applied, and to be able to restore it in a most repeatable manner in a cost effective production process.
For more than half a century, conventional Silicon-based Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) transistors have been the mainstay of the electronic memory industry. Furthermore, Silicon-based Flash memory’s superior performance and its ease of fabrication compared to competing memory technologies has made it the dominant form of CMOS memory. However, the high standards of next-generation memory driven by rapidly growing demands have revealed the limits of current Silicon-based Flash memory technology in terms of its fundamental scaling limitations, energy consumption, cost, and switching speed. In addition, they have stability issues when they are fabricated with nanoscale gate width. This is because losing a few electrons in the floating gate can cause severe loss of reliability.
The overall market size for Flash memory is currently estimated at approximately 40 Billion USD and is rapidly growing. The world’s storage requirements are doubling itself every two years. However, Moore’s Law, which states that transistor quantity will double every 18 months, will soon no longer be supported as Flash technology is reaching its physical scaling limits.
The global emerging (Flash replacements) non-volatile memory market is expected to grow from $580 million in 2015 to $3,527 million by 2020, at an estimated AAGR of 41.27% from 2014 to 2020. ReRAM is expected to be widely used for mass storage from 2018 onwards and is growing at AAGR of 53.07% from 2015 to 2020.
The most popular application sectors for memories are computers, consumer electronics, smartphones, tablets and enterprise storage. In addition there are tremendous growth opportunities in innovative segments such as automotive infotainment and navigation systems, Neuromorphic application, deep learning & machine learning systems, wearables and Internet of Things (IoT).
SiOx can be potentially packed into a three dimensional stacking device, making it even further compelling for storing large data at a low cost. As ReRAM offers significant performance improvement over traditional Flash devices, it will rapidly be adopted in applications where response time is crucial – such as data centers, banking and stock exchange transactions, as well as cloud computing tier 0 level of storage.
Considering the present scope, there is a huge market available for emerging memory technologies.