IBM is one of the largest technology companies in the world, involved in hardware, software, services and research. IBM has produced more research breakthroughs than any other company in the IT industry.
IBM is an MRAM pioneer, collaborating with Infineon and Samsung. In 2016, IBM and Samsung researchers demonstrated 11 nano-meter STT-MRAM junctions.
The latest IBM MRAM news:
A couple of days ago, Everdisplay disclosed its first major design win with a "top enterprise storage vendor" for its 40nm 256Mb STT-MRAM chips. We now know that this vendor is IBM - as it introduced its latest-generation enterprise SSD FlashSystem, which indeed includes Everspin's STT-MRAM.
Using MRAM instead of DRAM memory enabled IBM to remove the relatively large supercapacitors (used to make the DRAM non-volatile) and so the company was able to reduced the size of its drives and switch to a standard 2.5-inch U.2 drive form factor. The new FlashSystem SSDs support up to 19.2TB of 64L 3D TLC NAND. IBM's system uses a 20-channel NAND interface and a four-lane PCIe 4.0 host interface that can operate in dual-port 2+2 mode.
Capres A/S was established in 1999 in Denmark to develop a unique probe technology designed for in-line production monitoring in the semiconductor industry. The company, in collaboration with IBM, developed a resistivity measurement technique to characterize MTJ stacks.
Bo Svarrer Hansen, the company's CEO since 2002, was kind enough to answers a few questions we had, and share with us his views on the MRAM market and the company's measurement systems for MRAM and STT-MRAM device developers.
Q: Can you update us on Capres' current offers to the MRAM industry?
Capres customers are using our CIPTech® tools for R&D on small samples as well as volume production on 300 mm wafers. Depending on the configuration the tools measure with an in- plane or an out- of- plane magnetic field on blanket as well as patterned wafers.
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.
Everspin announced that IBM has demonstrated the company's Spin Torque DDR3 MRAM in the ConTutto platform in a Power8 system. IBM showed show how Everspin’s ST-MRAM operates as persistent memory, accelerating storage and server applications.
ConTutto is an IBM research configurable platform for innovation in the memory subsystem of an OpenPOWER node. The DDR3 interface on the Everspin Spin Torque MRAM makes it easy for developers to take advantage of the write speed and persistence of MRAM.
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 signed a joint technology development agreement and a mutual patent license agreement with IBM. They also signed a technology agreement - under which they will jointly develop semiconductor technology that combines Crocus' thermally assisted next generation Magnetic-Logic-Unit (MLU) technology with IBM's MRAM technology and processing capabilities.
MLU is a scalable evolution of Crocus' Thermally Assisted Switching (TAS) technology, and enables practical implementation of advanced magnetic logic and memory capabilities.
IBM reports some advances in their racetrack memory program, and they are now able to measure the movement and processing of data as a magnetic pattern on a nanowire (which is 1,000 finer than a human hair).
Racetrack memory uses electron spin to move data on nanowires at hundreds of miles per hour... IBM is not commercializing it yet, but racetrack memory has the potential to be very lower-power and high-density.
During the International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM) exhibition we got some updates about STT-MRAM research done at IBM, Samsung and Hynix-Grandis (who are researching STT-MRAM together).
IBM is working together with TDK and has presented a new 4-kbit perpendicular STT-MRAM array using tunnel junctions. Samsung has presented an on-axis MRAM with a novel MTJ, which they say open he way towards sub-30nm scaling. Using ferromagnetic electrode and a different MTJ structure design, Samsung think that they can scale this to a sub-20nm level.
Digitimes reports that Macronix has signed an agreement with IBM to continue to co-develop phase-change memory (PCM) technology. The company said it is optimistic about the outlook for PCM, which is likely to be a successor to all memory products used in computers and consumer electronics devices.
IBM is providing a preview of its new STT-MRAM technology. They have produced a 4-Kbit test device, using a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) with MgO tunnel barriers. They say that the new technology could enable a 64-Mbit MRAM (90nm). STT-RAM also uses less power than toggle MRAM.
The STT-RAM is part of the joint-research with TDK, announced in 2007