World's first Content Addressable Memory stores data without using power

June 13, 2011
Tohoku University professor Hideo Ohno with a silicon wafer featuring large scale integrated circuits (LSI's) in Tokyo, June 8, 2011. Japanese researchers said Monday they had developed the technology to stop power being consumed by personal computers, televisions and other electronic devices when they are in standby mode.

NEC Corporation and Tohoku University announced today the development of the world's first content addressable memory (CAM) that both maintains the same high operation speed and non-volatile operation as existing circuits when processing and storing data on a circuit while power is off.

NEC's new CAM is a part of spintronics logic integrated circuit technologies that utilize the negative properties of together with the spin . The new CAM utilizes the vertical magnetization of vertical domain wall elements in reaction to substances in order to enable data that is processing within the CAM to be stored on a circuit without using power. This contrasts to conventional technologies that required data to be stored within memory. As a result, data can be saved on circuits even when power is cut from the CAM.

In recent years, the use of ICT equipment has steadily increased due to the widespread growth of cloud computing. Most existing equipment requires a short amount of time to get started and internal circuits remain active when the equipment is in standby mode. Therefore, the growing consumption of power by ICT equipment in standby mode has become a serious concern.

Use of the new CAM in combination with existing nonvolatile memory is related to greater non-volatility of CPU for electronics and other . Furthermore, use of this new CAM enables the development of electronics that start instantly and consume zero electricity while in .

Key features of these newly developed technologies:

High-speed data retrieval
In order for CAM to be both nonvolatile and maintain a high speed, two spintronics devices, spinning in opposite directions to one another, were connected within the same cell. In terms of constructing the circuit, writing is done once by connecting two devices in a series using recently developed three pin particles that separate the current path into writing and reading.

This new process enables cells to become more compact since the number of writing switches per element is reduced by one. Moreover, the new CAM achieve the same level of high-speed data retrieval as current CMOS based CAM that feature 5ns and low power consumption of 9.4mW.

Approximately half the circuit area in comparison to existing technologies
In addition to the vertical domain wall element can connect in series by separating the route of current into reading and writing, the newly developed CAM circuit technologies can reduce the number of transistors from eight to three in every two cells by sharing transistors. This results in a 50% CAM area reduction.

NEC developed nonvolatile particles aiming for both greater convenience and energy conservation. Additionally, NEC and Tohoku University developed a simulation technology for a circuit diagram including spintronics particles in parallel with designing technologies for massively large integrated circuits for developments involving the most advanced spintronics logic .

NEC and Tohoku University will announce their latest results on June 17 at VLSI Circuit Symposium 2011 (June 13-17, Kyoto).

Explore further: Breakthrough Ultra-High-Speed Memory Technology That Solves Scaling Pace Limit in Embedded Memory Design

Related Stories

Toshiba and NEC Develop World's Fastest, Highest Density MRAM

February 7, 2006

Toshiba Corporation and NEC Corporation today announced that they have developed a magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) that combines the highest density with the fastest read and write speed yet achieved. The new ...

NEC Integrates NanoBridge in the Cu Interconnects of Si LSI

December 14, 2009

NEC Corporation, in collaboration with the National Institute of Materials Science, today announced the successful integration of NanoBridge, a solid electrolyte non-volatile crossbar switch, in Cu interconnects placed on ...

Low power, programmable cell array demonstrated by NEC

February 22, 2011

NEC Corporation announced today the successful demonstration of a low power programmable cell array using a rewritable and nonvolatile solid-electrolyte switch, "NanoBridge," integrated into a 90nm CMOS.

Recommended for you

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
What does "the negative properties of electrons" even mean?

Relative to what?
5 / 5 (2) Jun 13, 2011
Was this article proof read before translation from the original Japanese? It just has the feel of something not originally written in English. Some of the sentences almost, but not quite, make sense.
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
What does "the negative properties of electrons" even mean?

Relative to what?

I think their tendency to jump around from place to place even if the wires arent connected. Or maybe heat production...
But its all voltage/resistance related...
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
CAMs have been around for decades.
So, what process tech was used for the spintronics circuits?
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
negative properties of electrons

maybe tunneling
not rated yet Jun 13, 2011
doesn't electricity want to go to earth?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.