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Motorola develops 1Mb MRAM chip

Posted: 15 Jun 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mram? magnetoresistive ram? random access memory? non volatile memory?

Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS), in collaboration with Motorola Labs, has unveiled 1Mb magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM)claimed to be the largest MRAM device so farbringing the semiconductor industry closer to the commercialization of high-density universal memory chips.

Designed to be used in portable devices, desktop PCs, and automobiles, the 1Mb MRAM is based on a memory cell defined by a single transistor and a single magnetic tunnel junction with R/W cycles of <50ns.

The 64Kword-by-16 bits memory design is based on a 0.65m CMOS process and was fabricated on a 200mm substrate using copper interconnects. A new structure of cladding magnetic material was used on the copper interconnects lines to reduce the power needed to program the bits by a factor of four.

Motorola had previously developed a 256Kb MRAM chip, announced in February last year.

"MRAM has the potential to become the prevalent memory of choice for the vast majority of digital consumer applications like cell phones, mobile devices, laptops, PCs and even automobiles," said Saied Tehrani, director of MRAM technology at SPS.

Holy grail

"Researchers have been trying for decades to find the 'holy grail' of the semiconductor memory worlda device that is non-volatile, inexpensive, fast, and low-power. Each of today's prevalent technologies, DRAM, Flash, and SRAM, addresses one or two of these attributes, but no one technology yet can satisfy all four of these needs," said said Jim Handy, director of non-volatile memories with Semico Research Corporation.

"Motorola's success with MRAM technology appears to bring us nearer to this ultimate goal of the ideal memory chip," he added.

MRAM technology also enables the integration of multiple memory options within a single chip, enabling future consumer products to be smaller and have more cost-effective memory-based functions.

"By reducing system complexity, MRAM helps to improve battery life and system performance while lowering system cost," said Tehrani. "MRAM combines both high-performance memory and non-volatile storage, enabling both functions at a fraction of the power used in today's products."

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