Toshiba, SanDisk Develop Breakthrough in NAND Flash Cell Structure

6/12/2003 - Toshiba Corporation and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) announced development of a high density NAND flash memory cell structure that allows fabrication of 4-Gigabit (Gb) NAND flash memory using the 90-nanometer (nm) design rules. The new memory cell, has a physical cell area of only 0.041 micron squared, and supports scaling to future generations of smaller feature design rules.

Toshiba and SanDisk have tested the new cell structure and demonstrated its performance and reliability. The two companies plan to employ the new NAND cell technology starting in the first half of 2004 with 2-Gigabit and 4-Gigabit NAND flash memory chips that will be manufactured by their FlashVision Japan Joint Venture production facility located at Toshiba’s Yokkaichi Operations in Japan. Details of the high density NAND flash memory cell structure were presented at the VLSI Symposium in Kyoto, Japan, on June 11.

Toshiba and SanDisk are recognized technology innovators and market leaders in NAND flash memories—the highly versatile, non-volatile memory that continues to be designed into a diverse range of products, including digital still and video cameras, mobile phones and PDAs. Toshiba, a principal inventor of NAND flash memory, has consistently led the way in promoting advances in chip capacity, while SanDisk is a leader in flash data storage card products and a pioneer in high density flash MLC memory technology.

In the new NAND memory cell structure, the floating gate is completely self-aligned to the active area. This design characteristic supports scaling of the structure for fabrication beyond the 90nm design rule and is expected to provide a distinct advantage over the current NAND memory cell structure, where further scaling below 110 nanometers becomes difficult.

The new memory cell structure is designed to support both 2-Gigabit single-level cells (SLC) with an area per bit of 0.041 micron squared as well as 4-Gigabit multi-level cells (MLC), which effectively will have an area per bit of only 0.0205 micron square. The MLC structure allows each memory cell to carry 2 bits of information, instead of 1 bit, and minimizes interference. The larger capacity and low bit cost of MLC will allow Toshiba and SanDisk to reinforce their market leadership and advance their continuing collaboration in new technologies to meet increasing market demands for flash memory.

About Toshiba Corporation
Toshiba Corporation is a leader in the development and manufacture of electronic devices and components, information and communication systems, consumer products and power systems. The company’s ability to integrate wide-ranging capabilities, from hardware to software and innovative services, assure its position as an innovator in diverse fields and many businesses. In semiconductors, Toshiba continues to build on its world-class position in NAND flash memories, analog devices and discrete devices and to promote its leadership in the fast growing system-on-chip market. Toshiba has approximately 166,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of over US$47 billion.

About SanDisk Corporation
SanDisk Corporation is the world’s largest supplier of flash data storage card products. The company, located in Sunnyvale CA, designs and manufactures solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented high density flash memory and controller technology.

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