Interesting article from Engineer Live, about MRAM, OUM and FRAM -
MRAM is the highest profile at the moment, with a 4Mbit prototype shown in December (2003) based around a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) where magnetic material stores the data bit.
"We are very excited about this," said Saied Tehrani, director of MPEM technology at Motorola Semiconductor division. "It really brings two parts of the industry together - semiconductor and magnetics. We have taken the thin film technology and integrated that with the silicon transistor technology and used the magnetic polarisation to store the data and the silicon transistor for reading and writing the information."
The 4Mbit part is built in 0.18µm technology but for commercial products Motorola is looking at jumping a process generation and going straight to the current leading edge 90nm. This is being developed at a plant in Crolles, France, in a joint development with Franco-Italian chip maker ST Microelectronics and Dutch electronics giant Philips.
This would allow 64Mbits or even 128Mbit stand alone devices to be built, but that is not the aim.
So Motorola is planning to embed MRAM into devices alongside other functions. Tehrani would not comment on what these devices would be, except to say that they would be out on the market in 2005 and Motorola would announce the roadmap later this year. "Microcontrollers are a definite possibility for this technology," he said.