Interview with Bo Hansen, CEO at Capres A/S

Bo Hansen, Capres CEOCapres 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 demonstrated 11nm STT-MRAM junction, says "time for STT-MRAM is now"

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.

IBM TEM image of a 11-nm junction

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.

IBM demonstrates Everspin's ST-MRAM in its ConTutto platform in a Power8 system

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.

Everspin 128Kb automotive MRAM photo

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 raised $45 million, hopes to start generating revenue towards the end of 2013

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 and IBM to jointly-develop MRAM technology, sign patent license agreements

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 report advances in racetrack memory research

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.

IBM, Samsung and Hynix-Grandis report STT-MRAM research progress

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.

IBM shows New racetrack memory technology

In two papers published in the April 11 issue of Science, IBM Fellow Stuart Parkin and colleagues at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose describe both the fundamentals of a technology dubbed "racetrack" memory as well as a milestone in that technology. This milestone could lead to electronic devices capable of storing far more data in the same amount of space than is possible today, with lightning-fast boot times, far lower cost and unprecedented stability and durability.

Within the next ten years, racetrack memory, so named because the data "races" around the wire "track," could lead to solid state electronic devices - with no moving parts, and therefore more durable - capable of holding far more data in the same amount of space than is possible today. For example, this technology could enable a handheld device such as an mp3 player to store around 500,000 songs or around 3,500 movies - 100 times more than is possible today - with far lower cost and power consumption. The devices would not only store vastly more information in the same space, but also require much less power and generate much less heat, and be practically unbreakable; the result: massive amounts of personal storage that could run on a single battery for weeks at a time and last for decades.