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Memory Giant SanDisk acquires Matrix Semiconductor
Mark Peters : October 24th 2005 - 03:01 CET
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SanDiskMemory Giant SanDisk acquires Matrix Semiconductor : SanDisk Corporation and Matrix Semiconductor, Inc. today announced that they signed a definitive agreement for SanDisk to acquire Matrix. Matrix is a privately held company based in Santa Clara, California that has been developing and supplying 3-D integrated circuit (three dimensional) one-time programmable (OTP) technology since its inception in 1998. Matrix 3-D Memory is used for storage applications that do not require multiple rewrites and where low cost is the paramount consideration, such as video games, music and other content, or for archiving. SanDisk is the original inventor of flash storage cards and is the world's largest supplier of flash data storage card products.
Memory Giant SanDisk acquires Matrix SemiconductorMatrix silicon memory technology
The Matrix technology can achieve low cost by building multiple layers of memory arrays on a standard silicon substrate so that active circuitry is not confined to the silicon surface but extends vertically as well. Because OTP technology is not rewritable once programmed, it complements rather than directly competes with Flash memory, which is rewritable but more costly. Matrix has over 100 U.S. issued patents in 3-D integrated circuit technology. SanDisk intends to support and sell Matrix’s 3D OTP products through its various sales channels and will work closely with Matrix’s customers to assure continuity of supply during the transition.

SanDisk Gruvi music cards
“We have high regard for the Matrix team and welcome them to SanDisk. Use of the Matrix 3-D Memory extends beyond video games and hopefully will play an important role in content distribution such as incorporation in our recently launched Gruvi cards for secure distribution of premium music titles and other preloaded content in handsets,” said Eli Harari, Chief Executive Officer of SanDisk. “The Matrix team is excited about joining SanDisk and fulfilling our vision of 3-D memory technology,” said Dennis Segers, President of Matrix Semiconductor. “Joining SanDisk will provide us with financial, manufacturing, marketing and sales channel resources to help establish Matrix 3DM as a mainstream storage technology for a broad range of consumer applications.”

Matrix 3D IC Engineering
Matrix’s patented 3-D technology fundamentally changes the cost structure that governs IC design by providing an unprecedented, practical and high-volume approach to building multi-layered, three-dimensional integrated circuits. Using standard, proven semiconductor materials and process technology to build circuitry in multiple, active memory layers within a silicon die, Matrix achieves cost and density advantages that surpass existing technologies. The memory chip industry is continuously in search of better solutions. For over forty years, industry innovation has largely focused on shrinking process geometries to reach higher densities, lower costs, and increased performance. Matrix has demonstrated a new approach. In conventional ICs, all active circuitry rests on the silicon substrate, with additional layers of insulators and interconnects used only for wiring and mechanical strength. In contrast, Matrix’s unique 3-D architecture deposits multiple layers of active memory elements on a standard silicon substrate (or silicon surface) so that active circuitry is no longer confined to the silicon base, but extends vertically as well.

Matrix Memory Chips
This novel approach enables Matrix to build chips with a much smaller die area for a given density than existing technologies, optimizing use of expensive silicon real estate and dramatically increasing manufacturing yields. This fundamental innovation enables Matrix to introduce the lowest-cost-per-bit memory in the market. By using standard, proven semiconductor materials and process technology, Matrix leverages the vast knowledge and billions of dollars invested in the study of silicon and IC development. Using silicon reduces the complexity, costs, and risks associated with introducing new materials to development cycles and ensures high volume production with proven quality and reliability. Furthermore, Matrix is able to sustain its cost and density advantages with future generations of 3-D technology by scaling with advancements in industry. Matrix has developed an extensive and growing Intellectual Property portfolio. The advent of 3D IC design relaxes many present-day constraints, effectively accelerating Moore’s Law and pointing towards a fundamentally new way of thinking about the future of semiconductor design.

About SanDisk
SanDisk is the original inventor of flash storage cards and is the world's largest supplier of flash data storage card products using its patented, high-density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA and has operations worldwide, with more than half its sales outside the USA.

About Matrix Semiconductor
Matrix Semiconductor, Inc. is the creator and developer of the world’s first three-dimensional integrated circuits. Matrix’s first product, Matrix® 3-D Memory (3DM), is a low cost, high density line of permanent, one time programmable, non-volatile memory that is compatible with existing standards. Matrix 3-D Memory accelerates time-to-market for publishers of digital content and is targeted for use in portable consumer electronic devices. Privately held, Matrix is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Additional information may be found at the Matrix Semiconductor website.

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