Samsung is a large Korean conglomerate focusing on electronics, displays (both LCDs and OLEDs) and semiconductors. Samsung is a leading memory producer and is researching several next-generation memory technologies, including RRAM and MRAM.
In 2011 Samsung acquired Grandis, an STT-MRAM technology developer. In September 2017 it was reported that Samsung is set to start mass producing 28nm embedded MRAM.
The latest Samsung MRAM news:
Mentor announced that it will provide a unique IC test solution for the Arm's eMRAM compiler IP which is built on Samsung Foundry’s 28nm FDSOI process technology.
Mentor says it is working with Arm to leverage industry-leading Tessent software Built-In Self-Test (BIST) Design-for-Testability (DFT) technologies for testing the next-generation of Arm's eMRAM compiler IP in development.
Samsung announced that it has started to mass produce its first embedded MRAM, made using the company's 28nm FD-SOI process. Samsung says that its eMRAM memory module offers higher performance and endurance when compared to eFlash, and can be integrated into existing chips.
Samsung details that its eMRAM is 1,000 times faster than its eFlash memory, and it does not require an erase cycle before writing data (unlike Flash memory). The voltage used is also lower - and in total eMRAM consumes 1/400 the energy compared to eFlash for the writing process. Samsung's MRAM capacity, though, is lower than its 3D Xpoint, DRAM and NAND flash.
Digitimes reports that Samsung Foundry will soon start mass producing MRAM chips using Samsung's 28nm fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) process technology.
Digitimes says that Samsung has collaborated with NXP on this project. Samsung has completed the tape-out of its embededd MRAM which will be first applied to NXP's new low-power i.MX-series chipset targeted at automotive, multimedia and display panel applications.
During Samsung Electronic's Foundry Forum, the Korean chip maker reaffirmed its goal to start producing STT-MRAM chips in 2018. In fact Samsung now says that it will mass produce these chips next year, while last year it said that 2018 will only see limited production while real mass production will only begin in 2019.
Samsung announced it will produce the 2018 MRAM chips will be produced using 8-nano low power plus (8LMPP) semiconductor foundry process. Samsung sees MRAM produced by 4LPP by 2020.
Samsung demonstrated an LCD display that uses a tCON chip that uses embedded 28nm pMTJ STT-MRAM memory, instead of the normally used SRAM. The MRAM device had a density of 8Mb and a 1T-1MTJ cell architecture. The cell size is 0.0364 um2.
A tCON chip is a timing controller chip that processes the video signal input and processes it to generate control signal to the source & gate driver of the LCD display. The memory is used a a frame memory which stores previous frame data. Samsung prepared a test chip that contains both SRAM and MRAM memory devices to show that there is no difference between the two. SRAM replacement is a popular MRAM application.
Back in July 2016 (yes, we missed that one, but better late than never), Samsung Foundry's business development chief Kelvin Low said that the company is set to offer STT-MRAM on its 28nm FDSOI manufacturing process by the end of 2018.
To be more precise, the STT-MRAM in 2018 will be on a not-finalized process (what Samsung calls Risk Production Phase) - and real volume production will only begin in 2019. Samsung will be pushing its eFlash 28nm production before STT-MRAM will be available - but the company expects MRAM to be a favorite in the long term.
IBM researchers, in collaboration with Samsung researchers, demonstrated switching MRAM cells for devices with diameters ranging from 50 down to 11 nanometers in only 10 nanoseconds, using only 7.5 microamperes. The researchers say that this is a significant achievement on the way to high-density low-power STT-MRAM.
Using perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA), the researchers can deliver good STT-MRAM performance down to 7×10-10 write-error-rate with 10 nanosecond pulses using switching currents of only 7.5 microampere.
Samsung's semiconductor chief Kim Ki-nam says that Samsung is developing next-generation memory technologies, such as MRAM and RRAM. According to Kim "Samsung will commercialize MRAMs and ReRAMs according to our own schedule. We are on our way and will be ready soon"
Samsung targets MRAM as an update to DRAM memory, while RRAM will be used as a storage memory to replace NAND.
Yole Developpement released a new emerging-memory market report in which they try to asses the future of the memory market. Yose says that Phase-change memory (PCM) is pretty much dead, and the two main emerging memory technologies are MRAM and Resistive random Access Memory (ReRAM or RRAM).
While RRAM is very promising in the near future, with support from Micron (they plan to release RRAM chips in 2015) and Panasonic while other players are expected to react quickly. RRAM and STT-MRAM will compete in 2015-2016 in some standalone markets (such as embedded MCU, wearables and smart cards and the storage class memory for enterprise storage which will be the biggest market), and it's not clear yet which technology will be the most popular.
Back in June 2013 Samsung Electronics launched a global research outreach program aimed towards STT-MRAM innovation. The Samsung Global MRAM Innovation (SGMI) wanted wanted to reach out to colleges, universities and research labs from all over the world to explore breakthrough and innovative STT-MRAM research.
Samsung ran a short ad campaign on MRAM-Info and Spintronics-Info to help discover partners. Samsung informed us that they received lots of best and most novel proposals on a range of compelling research subjects. They are now collaborating with 15 SGMI partners. Hopefully we'll someday hear of the advances made through these collaborations.