It’s hard to believe that all your messages videos, apps, music, and apps can be stored in the palm of your hand, and to most people, it is a mystery how so much info can fit into such a small space.
What is in a phone SSD?
It might not seem so surprising when you see the complexity inside your smartphone or the inside of this 1TB SSD commonly found in laptops or computers. However, seeing the outside of this memory storage microchip tells us little about how these smartphones and SSD can store thousands of photos in files
Let’s zoom in and get to a nanoscopic view, then we will see the structure called V-NAND they hold all the data in your smartphone, here is where the real magic happens.
Every picture, message, and a bit of information gets saved as quantities of electrons inside these memory cells which are called charge trap flash
How do Phones with SSD work
First, the pictures in your phone are made up of pixels and these pixels are made up of color. The color of every pixel is defined by a combination of three numbers ranging from 0 – 255. Each representing red, green, or blue.
For example, the numbers will be 55, 53, 55 for the red, green, and blue, then 124, 121, and 119 for this pixel. Each of these three numbers from 0-255 is represented by 8 binary numbers. Like 8 ones and zeros because computers work in binary
That means that each pixel needs 24 bits to define its color. It is like an array of bits, this is what your computer cares about, it is also the implementation that the camera on my smartphone recorded when I took the picture
If you want to see the pixels in any picture just open it in an image editing program like paint or paint3D. Then you can zoom in with the picture, then if you want to see the red, blue, or green IGB values.
Click on the pixel, then click on the edit color, then you can see the 3 values red, blue or green, and the resulting color.
Then you calculate the pixel, if you are using a camera with a 12 revolution you are likely to get 12mega pixels after calculations for your smartphones
How does phone SSD store every bit in pixel
Let’s look at the SSD at the nanoscopic. It is here that you see the memory cells that are used in smartphones as well as the SSD in computers. This is the basic unit of a computer’s term memory storage and it is called charge trap flash memory cell.
In each cell, we can store information by placing different levels of electrons onto a charge trap, which is a key component inside the memory cell.
Older technology can only store 2 different levels of electrons. A lot of electrons or very few electrons were used to store a single bit 1 or 0.
However, engineers have been developing more finely tune capabilities for trapping and measuring different amounts of electrons or charges unto the charge trap.
Most memory cells in 2021 can hold 8 different levels, but newer technology can have 16 different levels of electrons
This means that a single cell instead of holding only one bit as a lot of electrons or no electron can now hold 3 or more bits
For example, in a cell of 3 bits, if we were to have very few electrons on it, it will be 111, while some electrons get designated as 100 and a lot of electrons 000.
There are 8 different levels from all the various amounts of electrons and charges that charge trap can be set or written too
The key charge trap is specially designed so after it gets charges with electrons it can hold unto these electrons for decades which is how it holds on to information that is saved or written to the SSD.
It is called the charge trap for a reason it charges electrons for years on end. In other to read the information, the electron charge level is measured and the amount of charge in the charge trap is unchanged.
However, in other to erase the contents of a memory cell, electron charges are forcibly removed from the charge trap returning it to its from its lowest level that is 111, and leaving no excess electron charges behind.
When you zoom out from the nanoscopic few the memory cells will be seen to be stack vertically, this is where the vertical part, the VNAND comes from.
The stack of memory cells called string is composed of 10 charge trap flash cells, layered on top of another. When information is written to or read to from a string only one cell will be activated at any given time and to do that we use separate control gates arches to every layer of the string.
The bottom control gate goes, hey you charge trap 1 what is your electron charge level at and the bottom cell sends that info to the center of the string up to the information high way top, which is technically called the bit line the next control for the second layer ask for the charge level for the second layer and so on up the string.
Each cell sending their information up the highway or bit line. This same kind of sequence happens when charges are being added to a charge trap which is how more information is written to a memory cell.
There is a duplication of strings that gets a page of strings. While duplicating the strings 32, we also duplicate the bit lines 32 times.
Rather than duplicate the control gate all the cells will share a common control gate. This will make it that when information is written to or read from a row an entire page composed of 32 adjacent cells all in the same layer are activated at the same time.
Components of microchips in phone SSSD
There is an array of 3D memory cells, the row decoder, and the page buffer at the bottom, additional peripheral could be found here as the chip to fit more capacity engineers copy this out to the other side.
This chip in SSD can read or write at about 50Mb/sec, which means it can read from or write to around 63 blocks every single second that is incredibly fast.
The last form of complexity in the chip, on top of having a massive array of memory cells in this insanely complex layout, they decided to copy this chip 8 times because engineers like to fit even small stuff in the smallest space possible.
They stacked it into a single microchip at the bottom an additional interface chip is used to coordinate between the 8 different chips.
This is what can be found in the small microchips in your phone’s SSD.
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