A couple years ago we looked at the possibility that non-volatile memory (NVM) might have a limited future. Given that the main physical mechanism of concern at the time was floating gate leakage through excessive tunneling, it certainly seems to give an edge to the one-time programmable (OTP) guys when it comes to migration to advanced nodes. They use anti-fuses instead of floating gates, and so aren’t limited by tunneling through ultra-thin oxide.
Last week Kilopass announced that they had a successful test chip using TSMC’s 28-nm process with high-κ metal gates. The process wasn’t altered in any way to implement the NVM cells. They also claim to have demonstrated scalability to 22 nm, and Kilpass’s Linh Hong says they’re in “very very early development” of 20-nm cells.
This is the world’s first 28-nm NVM cell, so, coupled with the projections going forward, it would look like there’s no premature end to this particular technology.
The release has more details…