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Russia, Crocus ink $300M MRAM production deal

Posted: 19 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MRAM? production deal? 90nm process technology?

A Wall Street Journal report claims that Russia, through its nanotechnologies investment fund called Rusnano, has committed to support magnetoresistive RAM startup Crocus Technologies Inc. in a deal valued at $300 million.

Crocus was established in Grenoble in 2004 to commercialize MRAM research conducted at the Spintec laboratory in Grenoble. The company has subsequently relocated its headquarters to Sunnyvale, California, but retains its engineering base in Grenoble.

The deal is for Crocus to form a Russian joint venture to manufacture MRAMs, according to the Wall Street Journal, which quotes a Rusnano executive. Crocus has already received about $60 million in venture capital. Its VCs will put up another $55 million with Rusnano providing most of the rest of the $245 million.

Rusnano announced the MRAM project in April without disclosing the name of the partner. Rusnano said: "It will produce ICs with 90nm process technology for MRAM, a promising type of nonvolatile memory whose characteristics resemble RAM but which require considerably less electric power. MRAM can store data for a long period, even after turning off electric power supply."

Crocus currently has an agreement to use specialty foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd to make MRAMs for it on a 130nm manufacturing process.

However, despite its huge theoretical wealth, Rusnano has yet to develop a reputation as a solid microelectronics technology partner.

Rusnano is involved with Moscow-based Sitronics JSC, parent company of Russia's leading indigenous chip company Mikron, and its on-again, off-again plans for a 300mm wafer fab. Rusnano is also backing a deal to provide $700 million for Plastic Logic Ltd to help it build a plastic electronics manufacturing line in Russia.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times





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