Intel, Micron Shrink Flash Memory Process To 20 Nanometers


Intel and memory device vendor Micron on Thursday began sampling devices based on the smallest flash memory process to come to market yet -- a 20-nm device manufactured by IM Flash Technologies, a Lehi, Utah-based joint venture between Intel and Micron.

IM Flash’s 20-nm process is aimed at small form factor tablets, as well as smartphones, SSDs, and other consumer-oriented devices. Intel said it offers a 30 to 40 percent reduction in board space relative to IM Flash’s current 25-nm device and brings 8 GB of stored memory for small form-factor NAND flash devices measuring 118mm2.

Tom Rampone, vice president and general manager, Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, said such innovations in NAND flash technology allow Intel to provide more affordable products to end users.

“Industry-leading NAND gives Intel the ability to provide the highest quality and most cost-effective solutions to our customers, generation after generation,” Rampone said in a statement. “The Intel-Micron joint venture is a model for the manufacturing industry as we continue to lead the industry in process technology and make quick transitions of our entire fab network to smaller and smaller lithographies.”

The latest die-shrink to a 20-nanometer process enables expanded data storage capacity on multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash device. Leading flash memory provider Micron said its partnership with Intel and other customers allows the company to offer new end-product designs based on NAND flash storage.

“Close customer collaboration is one of Micron’s core values and through these efforts we are constantly uncovering compelling end-product design opportunities for NAND flash storage,” said Glen Hawk, vice president of Micron’s NAND Solutions Group, in a statement. “Our innovation and growth opportunities continue with the 20nm NAND process, enabling Micron to deliver cost-effective, value-added solid-state storage solutions for our customers.”

Intel expects IM Flash to begin mass-producing its 20-nanometer process solid-state storage devices that feature 16GB and up to 128GBs of capacity in the second half of this year.