A leading edge semiconductor maker orders a full suite of STT-MRAM metrology tools from MicroSense

MicroSense announced that they installed a full suite of STT-MRAM magnetic metrology tools at a leading edge semiconductor manufacturer. These metrology systems characterize the magnetic properties of multi-layer 300 mm wafers or coupons used in the development and manufacturing of Perpendicular and In-Plane STT-MRAM.

The company says that this is the first time a major customer ordered a full suite of their tools to use in an STT-MRAM program. This order includes a Polar Kerr system for 200mm or 300mm Perpendicular STT-MRAM wafers and a KerrMapper tool for 200mm or 300mm In-plane STT-MRAM wafers. MicroSense's EZ Vibrating Sample Magnetometer measures sample coupons from Perpendicular or In-Plane STT-MRAM wafers.

ISI launches a Gen3 Pulser module for the WLA-3000STT-MRAM Analyzer

Integral Solutions International (ISI) announced a new module the WLA-3000 STT-MRAM Wafer Level Analyzer, the Gen3 Pulser. The new module is optimally matched with its proprietary probecard interface to produce programmable pulses as low as 5nS, with in-situ ability to perform ultra-fast measurements on the MTJs after pulsing.

The tester can be equipped with either the single or dual-channel pulse generator modules for improved UPH. The Gen3 Pulser module was redesigned to speed up Pulse related tests by an order of magnitude and features new Error Rate test (it can measure Error Rate of 10^6 in approximately 2 seconds). It is noew possible to characterize error rate as a function of VBias, Pulse Width/Amplitude, Field and other sweep parameters.

20 chipmakers from Japan and US to co-develop MRAM in hopes to replace DRAM within 3 years

According to Nikkei, over 20 Japanese and US companies have teamed up to develop MRAM technologies, in particular a new mass production method. Participants in this ambitious project include Tokyo Electron (who's merging with Applied Materials), Renasas, Hitachi and Shin-Etsu Chemical from Japan and Micron Technology from the US.

Japan's Tohoku University, a leader in Spintronics and MRAM research, will also join the project. The companies will finance several dozens researchers at the University. They plan to start development in February 2014, and continue to seek more companies from the US and Europe to join. The aim is to complete materials and processes development by 2017 and start mass production by 2018.

Jusung Engineering to supply MRAM etching and deposition equipment to Crocus's Russia fab

Jusung Engineering announced today that they will supply integrated etch and deposition system for Crocus Nanoelectronics (CNE)'s advanced OLED production. CNE is Crocus Technology's and RUSNANO joint-venture that aims to produce MRAM chips in Russia.

Jusung Engineering will supply the Genaon Plus MRAM etching equipment. this is a core process tool that can etch non-volatile materials such as platinum, manganese and cobalt. According to Jusung, this plasma etching equipment is specialized for magnetic metal layers patterning and it can completely eliminate polymer residue left behind on the side walls during the etching process.

Crocus licenses their MLU technology to TowerJazz, products expected by the end of 2013

Crocus Technology signed a license and joint-promotion agreement with TowerJazz, for the use of Crocus' Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) process technology. TowerJazz customers will be able to use Crocus' technology in embedded System-On-Chip (SoC) applications. First products based on MLU are expected on the market before the end of 2013 as some customers are already in the process of adopting the technology.

Crocus's MLU blocks are used in magnetic sensors and secure embedded memories. The memory is fast (like DRAM) and non volatile. It also includes unique security options. Crocus actually plans to produce (at TowerJazz's Migdal Haemek manufacturing facility in Israel) their own magnetic sensor and non-volatile memory products.

Tokyo Electron acquires Magnetic Solutions

Tokyo Electron (TEL) has acquired Magnetic Solutions (MSL). MSL develops, manufactures and sells magnetic annealing systems. Magnetic annealing is used during the MRAM manufacturing process to determine device performance. TEL hopes that by combining MSL's years of expertise in magnetic field annealing and its own productivity and miniaturization technologies for thermal processing systems, it will be possible to provide optimal systems for MRAM mass production.

Singulus and Albany's CNSE to partner on MRAM research in a $12 million project

Singulus Technologies and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany announced a $12 million partnership that will involve co-development of MRAM technologyies and processes for Tunnel Magneto Resistance (TMR) materials. Singulus and CNSE aim to deliver a critical technical need required to establish a fully installed, multi-equipment MRAM tool set capable of module and integrated processing for an MRAM development program.

More specifically, they will develop innovative deposition techniques (on 300mm equipment) for TMR materials and material stacks critical for advanced technology nodes. The research will focus on developing techniques to enable improvements in film deposition rates, deposition uniformity, and mechanical, electrical and magnetic properties, as well as advancing TMR processes and applications.

Tokyo Electron and Tohoku University to partner on STT-MRAM research

Tohoku University plans to open a new program for international academic-industrial collaboration on integrated electronics R&D in spring 2013. Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL) announced it will participate in the STT-MRAM research program, and will also develop manufacturing equipment technology for the program.

TEL has been collaborating with the university on Spintronics memory technology since December 2011, and apparently are also developing STT-MRAM STT-MRAM production equipment technology and integration technology together.

A*STAR researchers shed light on STT-RAM chip production temperature trade-offs

Researchers from A*STAR have posted an interesting study about STT-RAM production process. In particular, they say that it's already known that the annealing temperature controls the change in resistance between parallel and anti-parallel magnetizations. The higher the annealing temperature, the better larger the resistance change - but if the temperature is too high it drops.

The researchers now looked at an entire cell, and found out that the annealing temperature that yielded the maximum resistance variation exceeded the temperature necessary for maximum thermal stability.