What is UltraRAM and is it the future of memory?

18th January 2024
Harry Fowle

UltraRAM, a pioneering memory technology, is poised to redefine the landscape of digital electronics, from smartphones to data centres.

Spearheaded by Professor Manus Hayne and his team at Lancaster University, this innovation represents a significant leap in the realm of memory and storage solutions.

Technical ingenuity and advancements

UltraRAM's core lies in its compound semiconductor charge-storage memory. This technology exploits quantum mechanical effects, such as resonant tunnelling, to enable a barrier to switch from opaque to transparent with minimal energy input. This feature is key to achieving high-speed memory performance with the added benefit of non-volatility, a characteristic typically associated with storage memory like flash.

One of the most significant breakthroughs in UltraRAM technology is its successful implementation on silicon substrates. Overcoming challenges such as large crystalline lattice mismatch and the shift from elemental to compound semiconductor, this advancement is crucial for commercialisation due to the mature silicon chip-making industry and the extensive investment involved in building chip factories.

Outperforming conventional technologies

UltraRAM on silicon has demonstrated remarkable capabilities, outperforming its predecessors built on GaAs compound semiconductor wafers. Key features include extrapolated data storage times of at least 1,000 years and program-erase cycling endurance of at least 10 million, which is significantly better than flash memory. This highlights the potential of UltraRAM to replace current memory technologies, offering both the speed of RAM and the permanence of flash memory.

Future implications and applications

The development of UltraRAM paves the way for a new era in memory technology. Its unique combination of speed, energy efficiency, endurance, and non-volatility makes it an attractive option for a wide range of digital electronics. From enhancing the performance of personal computing devices to revolutionising data storage in large data centres, UltraRAM holds the promise of a more efficient, reliable, and sustainable digital future.

Who is working on UltraRAM

Quinas Technology

  • Background: Quinas Technology is at the forefront of UltraRAM development. This company emerged as a spinout from Lancaster University, where the foundational research for UltraRAM was conducted.
  • Achievements: Quinas Technology has garnered significant recognition for its work on UltraRAM, including winning a Best of Show Memory Technology Award at the world's largest memory event in Silicon Valley. This accolade underlines the disruptive potential of UltraRAM in the field of computer memory.
  • Commercial objectives: The primary goal of Quinas Technology is to develop UltraRAM into a product that surpasses DRAM in performance, with the added advantage of being non-volatile. This ambition reflects a desire to revolutionise the digital electronics and computing industry.
  • Contact and leadership: The company is led by CEO James Ashforth-Pook. For more information, visit Quinas Technology's website or contact James Ashforth-Pook directly​​.

Lancaster University's spinout initiative

  • Role in UltraRAM Development: Lancaster University has played a crucial role in the initial development of UltraRAM technology. As the birthplace of this innovation, the university's research team has been instrumental in bringing UltraRAM to its current stage.
  • Commercialisation efforts: The university is creating a spinout company specifically focused on commercialising UltraRAM technology. This initiative is a testament to the university's commitment to transforming academic research into viable, market-ready products​​.

UK Government's support through Innovate UK

  • Backing UltraRAM: The British government agency Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has shown support for UltraRAM by awarding a grant through its ICURe Exploit program. This grant was given in recognition of UltraRAM's commercial viability and cutting-edge science.
  • Future plans: With this funding, UltraRAM will undergo further testing at the nanometre scale to validate its key claims and move towards production. The grant demonstrates the government's interest in fostering innovative technologies that have the potential to revolutionise industries​​.

Collaboration with Indian-based Roorkee

  • Global reach: In its quest to refine and scale UltraRAM, Quinas Technology is collaborating with Indian-based Roorkee. This partnership underscores the global interest in UltraRAM and its potential applications across different contexts.
  • Impact on consumer electronics: If successfully brought to market, UltraRAM could dramatically reduce power consumption in laptops, smartphones, tablets, and elevate the performance of memory devices to unprecedented speeds​​.

The development of UltraRAM by these entities is a clear indicator of the significant strides being made in the field of memory technology. With its potential to revolutionise how data is stored and accessed, UltraRAM stands on the brink of changing the landscape of digital storage and computing.

In conclusion, UltraRAM stands at the cusp of a technological revolution, offering the potential to significantly improve how data is stored and accessed across various platforms. With ongoing research and development, this innovative memory technology may soon become a staple in the world of digital electronics, reshaping the industry in profound ways.

Product Spotlight

Upcoming Events

View all events
Latest global electronics news
© Copyright 2024 Electronic Specifier