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NEC announces new MRAM cell tech

Posted: 18 Jul 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MRAM? magnetoresistive RAM? LSI? cell technology? 2T1MTJ?

NEC Corp. claims to have succeeded in developing new magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) cell technology suitable for high-speed memory macro embedded in next-generation system LSIs. The cell technology includes three key elements: a 2T1MTJ (two transistors and one magnetoresistive tunneling junction, or MTJ) cell structure to accelerate write mode cycle time; a 5T2MTJ cell structure to accelerate read mode cycle time; and a write-line-inserted MTJ to reduce write current. According to NEC, this cell technology can be substituted for SRAM macros embedded in system LSIs.

Features of the elements include: 200MHz random access write operation, 500MHz random access read operation, and reduction of writing current down to 1/3.

NEC added that the area ratio of memory macros embedded in system LSIs has increased. Such memory macros can be classified into two typeshigh speed RAM used temporarily during data processing and non-volatile memory used for data retention during power-off and/or stand-by state.

To overcome this issue, MRAM technology, which is expected to possess "unified memory" (boasting the merits of both types of memory), has been developed. However, it is said to be difficult for conventional MRAM technology to enable over 100MHz of random-access-operation frequency, although speed of this level is necessary for next-generation system LSIs. To realize "unified memory," NEC said it has been developing MRAM technology to accelerate both read and write operation speeds.

NEC's research is partially supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization's MRAM technology development project.

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