NAND gets flashy

Infineon Technologies today launched the world’s first NAND compatible flash chip based on TwinFlash technology. Initial production has started in Infineon’s 200mm DRAM Dresden facility.

Infineon Technologies today launched the world’s first NAND compatible flash chip based on TwinFlash technology.

The 512Mbit flash chip has been developed by Infineon Technologies Flash GmbH & Co KG, a joint venture of Infineon Technologies and Saifun Semiconductors. Initial production has started in Infineon’s 200mm DRAM Dresden facility.

‘Infineon has expanded its memory product portfolio significantly by including flash and can now allocate its memory production capacities flexibly between DRAM and flash,’ explained Dr Harald Eggers, CEO of Infineon’s Memory Products Business Group.

‘The TwinFlash technology allows us to produce flash chips on the existing equipment used for DRAM manufacturing and consequently to enter a new market with basically no investment in manufacturing equipment,’ added Dr Eggers.

TwinFlash is realised in Saifun NROM technology, a non-volatile memory technology developed by Saifun Semiconductors and reportedly proven in the past as basis for NOR-Flash and EEPROM, which stores two (Twin) locally separated bits in one transistor cell.

Compared to competing single-bit-per-cell floating gate technologies with equivalent process structures, TwinFlash offers 40% smaller die sizes due to its two-bit-per-cell approach and less mask levels, resulting in lower production costs.

The 512Mbit flash chip comes in a TSOP package and is targeting the removable solid state storage market with products like SD-, MMC-, Compact-Flash-Cards or memory sticks mainly used for Digital Still Cameras and PDAs.

NAND flash is also the preferred storage medium for USB flash drives used for data exchange between PCs and notebooks or USB-drives featuring MP3-player or integrated Digital Still Cameras.

According to Gartner Dataquest the worldwide market for NAND flash memory is expected to grow by 30.8 per cent from $3.36 billion in 2003 to $4.4 billion in 2004. Infineon aims to be among the top 3 players in the NAND market by 2007.