Flash memory has become a staple in most of our computing devices, from phones, to tablets, to SSD’s in our desktops, this type of data storage has become ubiquitous. But flash memory has a fatal flaw…the more that it is used and the more often the cells in the memory chips are erased, the less effective they become for storing data. Eventually the flash memory is no longer useable.
It has been known for quite some time that subjecting the flash memory cells to high heat would return the memory to a useable state. But this has been seen as a clumsy solution, as the entire memory chip would have to be heated for hours on end to achieve this. Macronix engineers have come up with a new solution to the problem. By applying a very brief jolt of heat to the flash cell (800 degrees C), they have found that this returns the cell to a “good” state. This process can be repeated many times, and Macronix estimates that the flash memory cells could last for 100,000,000 cycles, compared to the 1,000 cycles now seen in 21nm TLC flash memory.
The intense heat is applied to a very restricted area within the chip and the process doesn’t have to be run all that often. At the moment, however, Macronix does not have a commercial product using this process, and there is no way of telling yet how this will affect design of future SSD’s and other forms of flash memory.
You can read more on the story at Ars Technica.