CNE focuses on emerging technology and devices, including non-volatile memories, magnetic sensors, bio-electronic sensors, integrated passive devices, wafer level magnetics and highly engineered semiconductor wafer processing. CNE has its own STT-MRAM project with plans to offer embedded STT-MRAM solutions.
The latest Crocus MRAM news:
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.
Yesterday we reported that Crocus Technology raised €34 million (about $45 million) in their Series D round of funding. Crocus said that part of that money will be used to ramp up its manufacturing at Tower Semiconductors (in Israel), and today they reported about a major breakthrough in that technology development, which they will bring to market by Q4 2013.
Crocus, together with TowerJazz now offers SRAM-performance with non-volatile MRAM. The MRAM solution has demonstrated best-in-class performance and more than two billion cycles of program/erase were demonstrated on a 4M bit NVM product. The first market that the two companies will address is Battery Backed SRAM (BB-SRAM). The MRAM technology offers fast access times, low power and unlimited write cycles - without the need for cost, recharging and long-term disposal of a Lithium battery.
Crocus Technology have completed their Series D round of funding, raising €34 million (about $45 million). The company raised $80 so far (not counting the $300 million from RUSNANO towards a manufacturing fab in Russia). The company hopes to start generating revenue by the end of 2013 and become cashflow break-even by the end of 2014.
Crocus are rather busy. They will use the money to ramp up its manufacturing at Tower Semiconductors (in Israel) while also qualifying its Russian joint venture fab in Moscow. They expect first engineering wafers in the summer.
Crocus Technology signed a license and joint-promotion agreement with TowerJazz, for the use of Crocus' Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) process technology. TowerJazz customers will be able to use Crocus' technology in embedded System-On-Chip (SoC) applications. First products based on MLU are expected on the market before the end of 2013 as some customers are already in the process of adopting the technology.
Crocus's MLU blocks are used in magnetic sensors and secure embedded memories. The memory is fast (like DRAM) and non volatile. It also includes unique security options. Crocus actually plans to produce (at TowerJazz's Migdal Haemek manufacturing facility in Israel) their own magnetic sensor and non-volatile memory products.
The US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) awarded Crocus with a contract to develop 8-bit per cell MRAM technology. This is the first phase in a multi-bit cell development project that is scheduled to be completed in one year.
Crocus will expand its magnetic logic unit (MLU) architecture to enable 8-bit per cells. This will reduce the energy consumed per written-bit to be below any other technology currently available. Such MRAM chips will be used to enhance chip security and cryptoprocessors as hacking into those chips will be more complex.
Spin Transfer Technologies (STT) announced that Barry Hoberman has been appointed as CEO and Chairman of the board. Barry was Crocus Technology's chief marketing officer, and we interviewed him in January.
Back in February STT announced that they raised $36 million to accelerate the development of its patented orthogonal spin transfer magneto resistive random access memory technology (OST-MRAM) - by scaling operation, hiring new employees and purchasing equipment. Back in October 2008 we have interviewed Vincent Chun, who was then the executive in charge at STT.
Crocus is a startup company that develops MRAM technology - and recently they have announced several exciting advances in both their technology and their financing and production plans. We had the good chance to interview Barry Hoberman, Crocus' chief marketing officer.
Q: Barry, thanks for agreeing to answer our questions... The big story today is still RUSNANO's $125 million investment - announced in May 2011. Any updates on this deal? Have the construction begun on the Russian plant?
A: The site selection for our Russian plant (Crocus Nano Electronics) has been completed. The site contains an existing shell, which will be modified to support the clean room. Crocus expects to process wafers at this facility in 2013.
Crocus signed a technology development and wafer manufacturing agreement with China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC). The two companies will develop high-temperature Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) technology targeted at automotive applications. The base wafer processing will be done by SMIC and these wafers will be further processed by Crocus at a facility that has yet to be built in Russia.
In addition the MLU technology could be licensed to SMIC for use in embedded chip applications and the two companies plan to market jointly smart cards made using TAS MLU and MRAM technology.