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.
According to Nikkei, over 20 Japanese and US companies have teamed up to develop MRAM technologies, in particular a new mass production method. Participants in this ambitious project include Tokto Electron (who's merging with Applied Materials), Renasas, Hitachi and Shin-Etsu Chemical from Japan and Micron Technology from the US.
Japan's Tohoku University, a leader in Spintronics and MRAM research, will also join the project. The companies will finance several dozens researchers at the University. They plan to start development in February 2014, and continue to seek more companies from the US and Europe to join. The aim is to complete materials and processes development by 2017 and start mass production by 2018.
Buffalo Memory launched a new industrial SATA III SSD (the S6C series) that uses Everspin's STT-MRAM as cache memory. As far as we know, this is the first product on the market to use STT-MRAM chips. Buffalo says that by using STT-MRAM cache, they were able to improve performance (access time) and power consumption, and also feature better tolerance to sudden power off.
Buffalo's SSD use Everspin's EMD3D064M 64Mb DDR3 ST-MRAM chips. These feature full DDR3 speed coupled with non-volatility. The EMD3D064M chip is functionally compatible with the industry standard JEDEC specification for the DDR3 interface, providing designers the ability to quickly adopt ST-MRAM in storage and embedded systems.
Crocus Technology filed an Inter Partes Review petition to the US PTO, claiming that US patent #6,980,469 describes a technology already used in prior art, in particular in the patent portfolio of Crocus. The patent in question describes a high-speed low power magnetic devices based on current induced spin-moment transfer, and is owned by New York University (although crocus says in their PR that it is owned by Spin Transfer Technologies (STT).
Crocus currently holds 154 patents, describing their Magnetic Logic unit (MLU) design and manufacturing as well as generic technologies like STT (Spin Torque Transfer).
Crocus Nanoelectronics launched the first production line at their MRAM fab, to start producing soon
Crocus Nanoelectronics (CNE), Crocus and Rusnano's $300 million JV announced that they launched the first production line at their MLU (TAS-MRAM based) production line in Technopolis, Moscow. This line will produce MRAM using 90-nm process technology (on both 200 mm and 300 mm wafers). By the end of 2014, CNE will be able to produce 2,000 wafers per month.
MLU is a "disruptive CMOS-based rugged magnetic technology" that Crocus is co-developing with IBM. MLU offers important advantages in high speed, security, and robust performance at lower cost compared to other technologies. MLU can be used in smart cards, network commutators, biometric authenticating devices, near field communications, and secure memory.
Jusung Engineering announced today that they will supply integrated etch and deposition system for Crocus Nanoelectronics (CNE)'s advanced OLED production. CNE is Crocus Technology's and RUSNANO joint-venture that aims to produce MRAM chips in Russia.
Jusung Engineering will supply the Genaon Plus MRAM etching equipment. this is a core process tool that can etch non-volatile materials such as platinum, manganese and cobalt. According to Jusung, this plasma etching equipment is specialized for magnetic metal layers patterning and it can completely eliminate polymer residue left behind on the side walls during the etching process.
During Flash Memory Summit 2013, Sony delivered a lecture on ReRAM (resistive random-access memory) - a technology Sony has been developing together with Micron. Sony hopes to start producing 16Gb ReRAM chips by 2015 (20nm) for the storage-class memory (SCM) market (SCM fills the performance gap between DRAM and NAND).
Sony says they chose ReRAM as its SCM because its memory cell can be made using advanced process technologies and a cross-point cell array can be used for it, making it easy to increase memory density.
Everspin Technologies announced today that they closed a Series B financing, raising $15 million from venture capital firms including New Venture Partners, Sigma Partners, Lux Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Epic Ventures. The money will be used to launch their first ST-MRAM products (hopefully by 2013).
Everspin also announced that they sold over 10 million MRAM chips. In the end of 2011 the company said they sold 4 million chips. They actually hoped to sell 5 million chips in 2012 which means that the current rate is actually lower than expected (if they only now reached 10 million chips) - but still this is an impressive milestone for MRAM technology (Everspin is still the only company shipping commercial MRAM chips).