The memory technology market, currently estimated at $165 billion annually, is dominated by DRAM and NAND flash memory. DRAM is known for its speed and endurance, but it is unstable and requires constant data refreshing. NAND flash memory, while non-volatile and capable of storing data without power, has slower speeds and limited endurance for program/erase cycles. To combine their strengths, Quinas Technology, a subsidiary of Lancaster University in the UK, decided to develop a memory called ULTRARAM, TechRadar reports. This new technology promises fast, non-volatile memory with exceptional endurance, estimated at 1000 years, and minimal power consumption.

ULTRARAM features a quantum mechanical process known as resonant tunneling, which enables non-volatile, high-speed, energy-efficient write and erase. Unlike traditional silicon-based memories, ULTRARAM is made from compound III-V semiconductors, including gallium antimonide (GaSb), indium arsenide (InAs), and aluminum antimonide (AlSb).

One of ULTRARAM’s key innovations is the use of a “three-barrier resonance-tunnel” structure. It allows the memory to switch between high-resistance and high-conductivity states, providing unique memory properties. Interestingly, the switching energy per unit area of ULTRARAM is significantly lower than that of DRAM, flash memory, and other new memory technologies, making it an ultra-low power solution. In addition, its endurance exceeds 10 million write/erase cycles without degradation.

The arrival of ULTRARAM is timely, given the growing energy needs of data centers. By reducing the energy needed to store and retrieve data, ULTRARAM can significantly reduce energy consumption in the sector. In addition, Quinas Technology assures that the memory can be mass-produced using existing semiconductor and silicon industry processes. However, as is often the case with new technologies, the timing of ULTRARAM’s commercial launch and the cost of solutions based on this memory remain unknown.