MRAM News, Resources & Information
MRAM is a next-generation memory technology, based on electron spin rather then its charge. Often referred to as the "holy-grail of memory", MRAM is fast, high-density and non-volatile and can replace all kinds of memories used today in a single chip.
Researchers from the A*STAR institute in Singapore suggest a new design that could make STT-MRAM devices faster. Using a computational model, the researchers tried different designs for the relative orientation of the magnetic fields in both MRAM layers (the 'field-like' term).
The strength of the 'field-like' term depends on the device geometry and the materials used. Devices with a strong field-like term has a greater potential to reduce switching times than for devices in which the field-like term is negligible.
Here's an interesting video interview with Joe O'Hare, Everspin's Director of Product Marketing. Joe explains the company's MRAM (and ST-MRAM) tech and business, especially how it relates to enterprise SSD, which seems to be the focus of MRAM applications at the moment:
During the interview, Joe updates that everspin is now designing a 256Mb chip, and this will be the next product the company will introduce. Currently their highest-density chip is the 64Mb ST-MRAM chip (announced in 2012, but only ramped-up recently).
Avalanche Technology has been awarded new key patents in the areas of STT-MRAM technology, MRAM integration and manufacturing and perpendicular Magnetic Tunnel Junction (pMTJ) STT-MRAM. This follows eight new key patents awarded to Avalanche since the beginning of 2014.
Avalanche (founded in 2006 and based in California, US) developed patented Spin Programmable STT-MRAM (SPMEM) memory that uses a revolutionary proprietary spin current and voltage switching technology. The company wants to license their technology for embedded applications and also build discrete standalone memory devices. In July 2012 the company raised $30 million.
Everspin announced the world's first STT-MRAM chip back in 2012, and they started offering it to customers in 2013. So far we only heard of a single product that actually uses those chips: Buffalo Memory's S6C industrial SATA III SSD. Today Everspin announced it is ramping up production, and the company disclosed several new customer and ecosystem relationships.
Everspin is collaborating with FPGA leader Altera, and is showcasing three new customers: SMART Modular Technologies, Mobiveil and Mangstor. SMART Modular is demonstrating a PCIe-based, high speed, and persistent FPGA-based memory solution using Everspin's STT-MRAM chips. SMART are using Evespin's EMD3D064M 64Mb DDR3 ST-MRAM chips. Mangstor unveiled the MX6000 family of Intelligent Storage Devices that use Everspin's ST-MRAM chips.
Researchers from France's SPINTEC/CEA developed a a new multi-bit MRAM storage paradigm that may enable a large density boost for MRAM devices. The researchers achieved up to 4 bits per cell on 110-nm devices.
Multi-bit per cell relies on multiple-voltage levels that correspond to various magnetic configurations. this is readable by key features of the electrical response (extrema points).
Researchers from New Zealand's Victoria University are developing MRAM devices (MTJs) based on rare earth nitrides (RENs). RENs, grown under ulta-high vacuum are both magnetic and semiconducting.
The team is basing its work on europium nitride, which is not usually magnetic, but has been "tricked" into behaving like a magnet by being produced with slightly too few nitrogen atoms. Those RENs are grown in France's Centre for Research on Hetero-Epitaxy and Applications.
One of the problems with flash memory is that it is sensitive to defects. To solve this problem, researchers from Samsung Electronics are developing flash devices based on graphene quantum dots (GQDs). The performance of such a device is promising, with an electron density that is comparable to semiconductor and metal nanocrystal based memories. Those flash memory can also be made flexible and transparent.
The researchers used GQDs in three different sizes (6, 12, and 27 nm) between silicon dioxide layers. The memory of the QDs depend on their sizes: the 12 nm dot for example offers the highest program speed while the 27 nm dot has the highest erase speed, and is also the most stable. Samsung says that this is the first GQD demonstration in a practical device.