Western Digital and Kioxia (new name of Toshiba Memory Solutions) announced at ISSCC 2021 the joint development of BICS6, the sixth generation of their 3D flash memory technology, which will be used by both in their solid-state solutions for data storage that will be available to businesses and consumers.

BICS6 will offer the highest density ever achieved in the industry, but it will also bring other performance benefits. The new generation offers improvements in vertical and lateral scaling. In fact, it offers 162 vertical layers of stacked memory, compared to 112 layers of the previous generation.

Also, the density of the side cell array has been increased by 10%. These two improvements add up to a 40% smaller array than previous technology.

Circuit Under Array CMOS technology for BICS6 memory from Western Digital and Kioxia

The new generation uses Circuit Under Array CMOS technology and four-planed operations for an improvement overall performance of “nearly 2.4X”, a 10% reduction in read latency and a significant increase 66% I/O performance. Production-focused technology improvements are key, and new technology allows a 70% increase the number of bits produced per wafer e consequently reduces. Also the cost per bit.

“While Moore’s Law reaches its physical limits in the semiconductor industry, there is one place where it continues to be relevant: in flash memory. To continue these advances and meet the growing demands for data around the world, a new approach to 3D flash memory scalability “, they explain from Western Digital.

Western Digital and Kioxia did not specify when this BICS6 technology for their memories will begin appearing in specific products in the joint release. When the fifth generation technology was introduced in January last year, the first commercial products were expected at the end of the year. From this it is therefore presumable that the sixth generation will be available by the end of the current year. If the COVID-19 pandemic allows it, because the shortage of chips is creating serious problems for the entire technology industry.

Its intended use can be any area of ​​the industry that needs a fast, reliable and increasingly economical archiving solution. The two memory makers are primarily focused on data-centric applications and emerging services enabled by 5G networks, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.

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