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Intel has quietly commercialized MRAM? Samsung is chasing after it

At the 64th International Conference on Electronic Devices (IEDM), Intel and Samsung, the world's two leading semiconductor companies, showcased new technologies in embedded MRAM manufacturing in logic chips.

MRAM (Magnetic Random Access Memory) is a non-volatile storage technology that has been developed since the 1990s. This technology is close to the high-speed read and write capability of static random storage, with non-volatile flash memory, capacity density and lifetime without DRAM, but the average energy consumption is much lower than DRAM, and basically can be repeatedly written indefinitely. .

Intel has said that its embedded MRAM technology can achieve up to 10 years of memory at 200 ° C and can achieve persistence in more than 106 switching cycles. And Intel describes the key features of STT-MRAM (MRAM-based spin transfer torque) non-volatile storage in its 22 FFL process. Intel called it "the first FinFET-based MRAM technology."

This technology can be equivalent to the "ready to prepare" phase, Intel did not disclose the process information to any OEM customers, but from a variety of sources, the technology is already being used in the products currently being shipped.

As for Samsung, it also claims that its 8Mb MRAM has a battery life of 106 and a memory period of 10 years. Samsung technology will initially be used in IoT applications. Yoon Jong Song, chief engineer at the Samsung R&D Center, said reliability must be improved before it can be used in automotive and industrial applications. Samsung has successfully transferred technology from the laboratory to the factory and will commercialize it in the near future.

Samsung also announced on the 28nm FDSOI platform that STT-MRAM is currently considered to be the best MRAM technology in terms of scalability, shape dependence, and magnetic scalability.

Figure: grand view research

As the storage industry moves toward smaller nodes, it faces technically challenging scalability challenges. In addition to being considered a candidate to replace traditional memory chips DRAM and NAND, MRAM is also seen as an attractive embedded technology that can replace flash and embedded SRAM.

The main reason is that it has fast read write time, high durability and excellent retention. Embedded MRAM is considered to be particularly suitable for applications such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, as well as for 5G generation trains.

As manufacturing costs drop and other storage technologies face scalability challenges, embedded MRAM is gaining more attention from consumer products. Importantly, with the development of new process technologies, the size of SRAM cells does not shrink with the rest of the process. From this point of view, MRAM is becoming more and more attractive.