When Swiss startup Innovative Silicon first got going, the company argued that its memory technology could be the thing that drives people towards silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers. Despite a strong push by companies such as AMD and IBM, SOI remains a minority choice. All the rest of the action is on bulk silicon wafers.
Following a shift from trying to license its one-transistor memory technology for use alongside logic transistors on system-on-chip (SoC) devices - AMD was the first major licensee — ISi decided a year or two ago that it had a better chance of getting DRAM makers to adopt it before trying to tackle the embedded-memory market again some time in the future.
The DRAM makers have had to come up with increasingly exotic ways to squeeze the bit-storage capacitor into tighter and tighter spaces. ISi is betting that one day real soon now, space is going to win that battle.
By storing a much smaller charge in the body of a transistor, ISi’s Z-RAM could potentially save space — you only have to have a 1T cell, not a 1T-1C cell as with conventional DRAM. But DRAM makers are not in a hurry to move to SOI — they like their wafers to be cheap.
So, ISi has moved in the other direction: away from SOI and into bulk silicon.