A UK startup wants to turn the RRAM dream into a reality

What just happened? HP brought to the public’s attention more than a decade ago, Resistive RAM (also known as ReRAM or RRAM) technology has been largely ignored by the industry. The few commercial apps that did succeed failed to live up to expectations, but a UK startup is now planning to give it another try after a successful funding campaign.

Intersec Semiconductor is a British start-up company founded in 2017 by researchers from University College London (UCL). The company is working on a new ReRAM technology, and has now raised enough funds to turn the failed promise of non-volatile RAM into a niche business opportunity for innovative single-chip computing solutions.

ReRAM is a commercial application of memristor technology, which was described in 1971 as the “missing link” of the theoretical quartet of basic electrical components besides the resistor, capacitor, and inductor. A “memristive system” is a resistor with memory capabilities, as it can change the resistance when an electric current is applied and it can remember its state when the power is turned off.

In theory, ReRAM chips could provide fast data storage capabilities with low power requirements. HP has tried to build commercially viable solutions based on memristors more than a decade ago, but the company ultimately failed. Competing RRAM technologies such as 3D Point It was also short lived, promising exceptional levels of performance and achieving very little of early commercial expectations.

Intrinsic says its newly implemented ReRAM technology solves nearly all of the problems with previous memristive solutions. company I believed 7 million pounds ($8.5 million) in a funding round led by Octopus Ventures and other investors, in addition to a further 1 million pounds awarded by the UK government’s innovation agency (Innovate UK).

Based on more than a decade of research on memristors at UCL, Intrinsic’s ReRAM technology appears to be better than previous solutions as it can be made with standard semiconductor materials such as silicon dioxide. Intrinsic’s ReRAM is a CMOS complaint and should be more cost effective for manufacturers, who can use existing machines to spout ReRAM memory chips.

The British company also says that its ReRAM solution is easier to integrate with logic circuits common in CPUs, while traditional flash memory doesn’t offer the same convenience of integration. According to Mark Dickinson, CEO of Intrinsic, the new RRAM technology has the potential to “become the backbone of the next generation of cutting-edge computers and the Internet of Things,” just as “intelligent, data-hungry applications” become more prevalent.

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