China has developed a high-performance monocrystalline silicon channel 3D NOR memory

According to the official website of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Microelectronics has developed a high-performance single-crystal silicon channel 3D NOR memory.

NOR flash memory plays an important role in artificial intelligence, automotive electronics, and industrial fields due to its advantages of high speed, high reliability, and long service life. At present, the commonly used planar NOR flash memory encounters a bottleneck in the size reduction of technology generations below 50 nanometers, making it difficult to further increase integration density, optimize device performance, and reduce manufacturing costs. In order to break through the above bottleneck, researchers have proposed a variety of three-dimensional NOR (3D NOR) devices based on polysilicon channels, but polysilicon channels have low mobility and slow reading speed, which affects the overall performance of NOR devices.

Recently, Zhu Huilong's team, a researcher at the Integrated Circuit Pioneer Process R&D Center of the Institute of Microelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, used the new vertical transistor technology developed to prepare high-performance single-crystal channel 3D NOR flash memory devices. The stacked transistors of the device not only have the advantages of the high performance of a single crystal silicon channel but also have the advantages of the low manufacturing cost of three-dimensional integrated integration. 

The device can achieve the same or better performance than single-crystal silicon channel planar NOR flash memory devices, and can greatly increase memory integration density and storage capacity without upgrading the lithography machine. The 3′3′2 three-dimensional NOR flash memory array developed by the scientific research team has achieved normal reading and writing and erasing, and achieved the goal of reading current, programming, and erasing speeds comparable to two-dimensional NOR flash memory devices, and the new process is comparable to mainstream silicon-based processes compatible for easy application.

Relevant research results were published as the cover article and "Editors Picks" (Editors Picks) article, titled A Novel 3D NOR Flash with Single-Crystal Silicon Channel: Devices, Integration, and Architecture, published in Electronic Devices Letters (IEEE Electron Device Letters). The research work is supported by the independent deployment project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Figure 1. Monocrystalline silicon 3D NOR circuit architecture (top) and vertical channel transistor structure (bottom) published on the cover of Electron Device Letters

Figure 2. Single crystal silicon channel 3D NOR device and electrical experiment results: (a) TEM screenshot of the device (left) and partially enlarged view of the channel (right), (b) programming characteristics, (c) erasing characteristics

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