Spin Memory (previously Spin Transfer Technologies), established by established by NYU and Allied Minds, is developing STT-MRAM devices based on its Orthogonal Spin Transfer MRAM (OST-MRAM) technology.
In November 2018 Spin Memory licensed its Endurance Engine MRAM technology to Arm. In 2016 Spin Memory produced 20nm OST-MRAM MTJs, and said it is preparing to start delivering samples to select customers. In 2015 the company raised $70 million (in addition to $36 million raised in 2012) and in November 2018 the company announced its $52 million Series B funding round.
Back in October 2008 we have interviewed Vincent Chun, who was then the executive in charge.
The latest Spin Memory news:
Spin Transfer Technologies (STT) has successfully produced a working prototype STT-MRAM device. The company's advanced prototyping magnetics processing line at its facility in Fremont, California, is now fully operational.
STT's prototypes incorporate proprietary, performance-enhancing ‘spin-filtering’ technology, and were fabricated on industry standard CMOS wafers sourced from a high volume Asian foundry supplier. The prototypes are based on 60-nm perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction devices
In November 2013, Crocus Technology filed an Inter Partes Review petition to the US PTO, claiming that Spin Transfer Technologies's US patent #6,980,469 describes a technology already used in prior art, in particular in the patent portfolio of Crocus. In April 2014, the USPTO issued a preliminary decision in favor of Crocus' petition.
Crocus now says that it has prevailed in the Inter Partes Review of the patent. Crocus petitioned to cancel all or part of the patent as Crocus’s patent portfolio includes a patent on this technology that makes advanced non-volatile memory blocks more efficient. After careful consideration, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the US Patent and Trademark Office issued its final written decision cancelling or finding unpatentable all but three claims of the ’469 patent.
In November 2013, Crocus Technology filed an Inter Partes Review petition to the US PTO, claiming that Spin Transfer Technologies's US patent #6,980,469 describes a technology already used in prior art, in particular in the patent portfolio of Crocus.
Crocus Technology now says that the USPTO issued a preliminary decision in favor of Crocus' petition - saying that there is a “reasonable likelihood” that Crocus will prevail with respect to its challenge. The patent in question describes a high-speed low power magnetic devices based on current induced spin-moment transfer.
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).
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.
Spin Transfer Technologies (STT) announced that they raised $36 million in series A funding led by parent company, Allied Minds and Invesco Asset Management. STT will use the money 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.
This is great news for STT. The last we heard from the company was in November 2010 when they announced the successful development of the STT-MRAM device that uses STT's proprietary orthogonal spin transfer technology with a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) for memory state read-out.
Spin Transfer Technologies (STT) developed the first STT-MRAM device that uses STT's proprietary orthogonal spin transfer technology with a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) for memory state read-out. Using the MTJ element makes the device compatible with CMOS logic, and takes the orthogonal spin transfer technology a major step closer to commercialization.
The new device features deterministic switching, resulting in no incubation delays, 100% probability of switching with 500 picosecond pulses utilizing only 250 femtoJoules of energy, 100% magnetoresistance ratio, providing a highly sensitive readout of the magnetic state and bipolar switching behavior (switching upon either polarity of current pulse) potentially allowing simpler or fewer CMOS elements.
Spin Transfer Technologies (STT) and Singulus Technologies will collaborate to apply advanced deposition techniques to support commercial development of STT’s novel MRAM memory devices. The companies will use Singulus TIMARIS deposition tool to create magnetic layer stacks with STT’s design specifications. These layer stacks will then be processed at STT contracted facilities into memory arrays for testing, optimization, and eventually, pre-commercial prototyping.
Singulus has already sold several TIMARIS systems for MRAM companies (including Grandis and Crocus). STT is working towards Orthogonal Spin Transfer MRAM or OST-MRAM for short. Back in October 2008 we have interviewed Vincent Chun, the executive in charge at Spin Transfer Technologies.
Researchers from NY University, together with Spin Transfer Technologies have demonstrated magnetic vector switching for current pulses as short as 100 picoseconds. This is among the shortest write times reported by developers of MRAM devices.
In October 2008, I had the chance of interviewing Vincent Chun from Spin Transfer Technologies. Vincent Chun is the executive in charge at Spin Transfer Technologies. He is also a Director of Allied Minds, the investment firm that provided pre-seed funding for STT. Dr. Chun has 23 years of experience in science, technology, and corporate and entrepreneurial business management. He has a Ph.D. from MIT and an MBA from Kellogg. Spin Transfer Technologies was jointly formed by Allied Minds and New York University, using technology developed by Dr. Andrew Kent at NYU’s Physics Department.
* Can you explain your STT-MRAM technology?
Spin Transfer Technologies’ MRAM innovation utilizes a deterministic mechanism to rotate the magnetization vector of a free magnetic layer. This is made possible by using an orthogonal orientation between the magnetization of the pinned and free magnetic layers. Because the magnetization reversal mechanism does not rely on thermodynamic processes to initiate the switching, there is no incubation delay – and the switch time is very short, while the power consumption is very small compared to spin-transfer techniques used by others. We call our technology Orthogonal Spin Transfer MRAM or OST-MRAM for short.
* How many people work in STT currently?
Eight people are involved in STT activities at the moment.
* What is your plan? Do you want to license your IP, or perhaps try to make the chips yourself or with a partner?
We plan to make the chips with one or more partners, but will certainly be open to licensing the technology as well.
* Can you give some information about your financial situation? I understand that so far you got only a pre-seed investment from AlliedM Minds and NYU (end of 2007)?
We have gotten sufficient funding to prove out the technology and will be seeking additional funds for commercial product development. This initial investment is more than the typical seed round.
* Who are you business partners?
So far, we have been in technology prove-out mode, and have not approached potential business partners yet. We will begin reaching out to potential business partners in the next few months, as we start communicating our early results.
* If everything goes according to plan, when will we see products with your tech 'inside'?
It is too early to say – I’d rather not put out estimates that are speculative. Much would depend on the next funding round and the partners that we end up working with. That said, we will likely have CMOS-integrated OST-MRAM prototypes by 2010.
* What are your thoughts on Freescale's MRAM products?
Freescale has demonstrated that there is a great market for MRAM products. They have paved the way for follow-on MRAM products that use spin transfer technology, currently being developed by many players.
* Can you compare your STT-RAM with other companies' tech (freescale, crocus, grandis, etc.)?
All of the spin-transfer approaches that we are aware of involve stochastic processes in the magnetic vector switching. That is, the reversal is driven by both thermal energy and spin-transfer torques. This invariably requires a high current density and results in a slower, less reliable memory device. Our approach utilizes an orthogonal configuration of pinned and free magnetic layers that results in a deterministic switching process with a very short switching time and low power consumption.
* Do you think the current world financial situation might effect MRAM development?
I believe there will be some impact related to an expected overall market decline. However, the relative interest in MRAM compared to other computer memory technologies should not be impacted. The anticipated end user applications of MRAM products are in business equipment, laptops, and productivity devices, and not dominated by discretionary consumer products. Therefore, I believe the impact will be somewhat proportional to the overall economy. As for Spin Transfer Technologies, we plan to push ahead aggressively, with the expectation that the market will have improved by the time we come to market.
* Where do you see MRAM in about 5 years?
I would expect to see a number of spin-transfer based MRAM products on the market, and in an accelerating adoption mode. It will be seen as the next generation of memory device technology, given its technical advantages and its ability to consolidate the benefits of current volatile and non-volatile memory technologies.
* When do you estimate we'll be able to buy a MRAM-on-key or have MRAM in mobile phones or A/V players?
I won’t venture a guess, as conventional MRAM took quite some time to reach the market, and came out at a high price point. It’s really difficult to predict when the densities and prices will reach the point where you’ll see them as thumb drives or in consumer electronics. One thing that is almost certain, is that it will be based on spin-transfer technology.
* Where do you see Spin-Transfer-Technologies in about 5 years?
In five years, we expect Spin Transfer Technologies to be actively in the market, with product either directly offered or through licensing or other collaborative type arrangements.
Vincent - thank you for this interview. I hope we'll hear more of your STT-MRAM tech soon!
Ron Mertens, mram-info.com, October 2008.