QuInAs Technology

An Ultra-Efficient Memory



Tech Overview

ULTRARAM™ is a remarkable, patented, memory technology developed by Lancaster University. It exploits a quantum-mechanical process called resonant tunnelling, allowing ULTRARAM™ to deliver non-volatility with fast and energy-efficient write and erase, resulting in high endurance. This combination of properties was thought to be unachievable until now. ULTRARAM™ has the non-volatility of flash, with a performance that is expected to exceed that of DRAM.
The $165bn pa memory market is dominated by dynamic random-access memory (DRAM, $100bn) and NAND flash ($60bn). Flash is non-volatile, retaining data when unpowered, but is slow and has poor program/erase cycling endurance. In contrast, DRAM is fast with excellent endurance, but it is volatile, and requires data to be constantly refreshed. For decades there has been a quest for a memory that combines their advantages without their disadvantages, i.e. a memory that is fast and non-volatile, with high endurance and ultra-low switching energies; a so-called ‘universal memory’. ULTRARAM™ has achieved these universal memory characteristics.
ULTRARAM™ is a remarkable, patented, memory technology developed by Lancaster University that successfully combines the attributes of universal memory.
Explainer Video
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Quantum Technology

ULTRARAM™ is a flash-like floating-gate memory. However, unlike flash, which uses a highly-resistive oxide barrier to retain charge in the floating gate, ULTRARAM™ uses atomically-thin layers of InAs/AlSb to create a triple-barrier resonant-tunnelling (TBRT) charge-confining structure. The TBRT switches between a highly-resistive (locked) state (with no bias, ‘store’), to a highly-conductive (unlocked) state on application of just 2.5 V across the gate stack (program/erase). It is this mechanism that gives ULTRARAM™ its remarkable properties.

Quantum Technology


Unlike DRAM and flash, which are silicon based, ULTRARAM™ uses III-V compound semiconductors. Specifically, the so-called 6.1-angstrom family of semiconductors (GaSb, InAs and AlSb). This allows engineering of the memories’ electrical properties to exploit the underlying physics to full effect, whilst also being capable of volume manufacture using established processes in the compound semiconductor and silicon industries. The extremely low electron-effective-mass in InAs also opens the possibility for a new high-speed embedded III-V logic to address arrays.

Energy Efficiency

The factors determining energy efficiency vary widely for different memory technologies. For example, many emerging memories function by making/breaking interatomic bonds or by switching atomic magnetic moments. These processes are energy intensive, resulting in high program/erase energies. Charge based memories such as flash and DRAM are superior in this respect as they manipulate electrons rather than atoms, which requires less energy. However, there is still room for even greater efficiency!
With its combination of low capacitance and low voltage program/erase, ULTRARAM™ has a switching energy per unit area that is 100x lower than DRAM, 1,000x lower than flash and over 10,000x lower than other emerging memories. ULTRARAM™’s ultra-low energy credentials are further enhanced by its non-destructive read and non-volatility, which removes the need for refresh.

Program Erase / Switching Energies

10,000 x

Lower than other emerging memories

100 x

Lower than DRAM

Program Erase / Switching Energies

1,000 x

Lower than Flash


High Endurance

Endurance refers to the number of times a memory cell can be programmed/erased before it is worn-out. This is a weakness of non-volatile memories such as flash, which typically only withstand 10,000 program/erase cycles. In contrast, ULTRARAM™ has demonstrated degradation free operation in excess of 10 million program/erase cycles. This is due to the low-voltage, ultra-low-energy program/erase process enabled by quantum resonant tunnelling.

Non-Volatility vs Speed

A memory is non-volatile if it is able to retain data when unpowered, requiring a robust logic state that is difficult to change, e.g. flash. In contrast, a fast memory seemingly requires the logic state to be frail so that it can be changed quickly and easily, e.g. DRAM. Therefore, a memory that is fast and non-volatile seemingly requires contradictory physical properties and has long been dismissed as unachievable.

ULTRARAM™ breaks this paradigm through the use of quantum mechanics and resonant tunnelling. Extrapolated retention times in excess of 1,000 years have been demonstrated and scaling of devices down to state-of-the-art feature sizes is predicted to achieve speeds that match or exceed DRAM.

Our Team

QuInAs Team
James Ashforth-Pook
Chief Executive Officer
Manus Hayne
Chief Scientific Officer
Peter Hodgson
Chief Technology Officer

Our Advisors

QuInAs Advisors
Prof Avirup Dasgupta
Dr Wladek Grabinski
Prof Pierre Fazan
Dr. J. Iwan Davies

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QUINAS Technology
A035, Faraday Buildings
Physics Avenue, Bailrigg
Lancaster LA1 4YB
United Kingdom


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QUINAS Technology Limited
85 Great Portland Street, First Floor
United Kingdom

Registered in England and Wales.
Company Registration No. 14673840.

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ULTRARAM is developed in partnership with Lancaster University and funded by the EPSRC (under IAA grant EP/X525583/1 and the Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub grant EP/P006973/1), by the Materials Social Futures doctoral training Program of the Leverhulme Trust, by the European Commission via ATTRACT (grants 777222 and 101004462), by MSCA-ITN QUANTIMONY (grant 956548) and by the Innovate UK ICURe program.