Lancaster University plans to launch a spinoff company that will commercialize an universal memory system for computers called ULTRARAM(tm).
Professor Manus Hayne invented ULTRARAM(tm), a new type of memory with extraordinary properties. It combines the nonvolatility of flash storage for data with the energy-efficiency, speed and durability of functional memories such as DRAM. To do this, it utilizes quantum resonant tunnelling in compounds of semiconductors commonly employed in photonic devices like laser diodes, LEDS and infrared detectors – but not digital electronic devices which require silicon.
Nonvolatility refers to the capacity of a storage device to retain data even when not in use. Non-volatile memory can be described as part of computer memory that retains files even when its system is idle. Nonvolatile memories include hard disk drives, solid state drives and flash memory. Non-volatile memory differs from volatile types like Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DRAM), which requires continuous power for its stored data to stay intact. Dynamic Random Access Memory, commonly referred to as DRAM, is a volatile form of computer memory found in personal computers, servers and other electronic devices. DRAM chips store every piece of information as an electric charge in capacitors, which must be periodically refreshed to preserve the stored data. DRAM is often used as the main memory in computers due to its cost-efficiency and quick access to information. However, its volatile nature means it will lose all stored data when power is removed. Therefore, DRAM is typically combined with nonvolatile storage devices like solid state drives which can keep records even when power is turned off.
This technology was initially created in the US and is currently being patented across key global technology markets.
UltraRAM(tm) is set to be commercialized after winning the ICURe Explore award as part of Innovate UK’s ICURe Program, which was designed to assist researchers in exploring potential commercial applications and opportunities for UK research.
At an event held in Glasgow, it was announced that the ULTRARAM(tm) team had been presented with an ICURe Exploit award. This achievement marked the culmination of multiple stages of selection – being suggested through their University, accepted into the ICURe program, and then chosen in “Options Roundabout.”
Jess Wenmouth, Commercialisation Impact Manager at the University, explained: “This process serves to validate and develop science, market discovery, need identification and evidence gathering while affirming our team’s abilities and capabilities to carry this initiative forward.”
After being approved by the ICURe expert panel of innovation experts, Lancaster University plans to develop its spin-off company as an official spin-off entity with discussions underway regarding potential investors.
The panel identified three major strengths of the project: an obvious global market opportunity, potential technology disruption and vast untapped market potential.
Additionally, ICURe graduates may now compete for up to PS300k in Innovate UK funding – provided they achieve success.