Researchers Develop RAM That Works at 300C


Staff member
Mar 3, 2018
A group of researchers claim to have developed gallium nitride memory devices that can work at temperatures over 300 degrees Celcius (or 572 Fahrenheit, which is coincidentally about 572 Kelvin as well). As any overclocker already knows, silicon-based transistors don't work particularly well above 100C, and the researchers' paper claims that previous GaN devices topped off at about 200C. However, they say their memory device survived exposure to temperatures above 350C, and performed a thousand switching cycles at 300C with almost no deterioration, but don't expect this technology to improve your overclocking anytime soon. The researchers envision this technology being used in exploration probes destined for some of the harshest places in our solar system, and say they're testing a device that can survive temperatures of up to 500C.

The memory device was fabricated by chemical vapor deposition on a gallium nitride substrate. Key to the device’s performance were the etching and regrowth processes during fabrication, says Zhao. After several layers of gallium nitride were deposited, some areas were etched away with plasma, then regrown. That created an interface layer with vacancy sites that are missing nitrogen atoms, says Zhao. "The interface layer is critical for the memory effect," he says. The researchers believe that the nitrogen vacancies are responsible for capturing and releasing electrons, giving rise to high and low resistance states-or zero and one states-in the device... The team is also investigating the role of the nitrogen vacancies for the device's performance. Once NASA deems a prototype good enough, it will have to undergo testing in controlled chambers that mimic the harsh environments on Mercury and Venus at NASA facilities, says Zhao. "I will say there is several years of work to do, but the initial result is definitely very, very encouraging and exciting," he says.
So let's just call it for what it really is: A stove.
A thousand switching cycles isn't squat in the grand scheme considering modern CPUs switch billions of times per second, but it is progress. Here's hoping it'll enable further exploration and new applications.