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FRAM is a type of non-volatile RAM that utilizes a ferroelectric film as a capacitor to store data. In contrast to the conventional non-volatile memories like Flash and E²PROM, the content of an FRAM cell is not stored in the form of charge carriers in a ‘floating gate’. The information – logically 0 or 1 – is contained in the polarization of the ferroelectric material lead zirconate titanate, PZT (Pb (ZrTi)O3). This material is placed between two electrodes in the form of a thin film, in a similar way as the structure of a capacitor.
By generating an electric field between the two electrodes, the ferroelectric film will be polarized. Because the polarization remains even after the electric field is removed, the content of the FRAM can be maintained even in absence of power. This non-volatility represents the major advantage of FRAM compared to DRAM.
The non-volatility of FRAM allows the data to be maintained even in the absence of power. As a result, backup battery becomes redundant.
FRAM is 30,000 times faster than E²PROM. Since FRAM operates based on random access, write process can be completed without any delay. Write and Read access times are in the 2–3 digit nanosecond range and comparable with those of RAM. As a result, FRAM is able to complete the writing process even at sudden power outage, thus ensures data integrity.
FRAM provides up to 10 million times higher endurance over E²PROM. The maximum number of write/delete cycles for Flash and E²PROM is between 100,000 and 1 Million. With over 10 trillion write/read cycles (1013), the lifetime of FRAM memory is almost unlimited. Writing/reading access could theoretically take place on a cell for over 300,000 years at one-second intervals.
FRAM consumes significantly lower energy in writing than E²PROM. Since no large charge quantities have to be displaced within FRAM’s operation, charge pumps, which are usually used to generate higher programming voltages, are not necessary with FRAM. Also the extremely short access cycle results in considerably lower energy consumption. As a result, FRAM technology is much more energy efficient than Flash or E²PROM.
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