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Wireless FRAMs boast low power, high speed

Posted: 13 Oct 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless? FRAM? ferroelectric RAM? RFID?

MaxArias wireless FRAM

Ramtron International Corp. has begun beta sampling its first MaxArias wireless memory product to customers across several industries. Ramtron's MaxArias wireless memory combines the low power, high speed and high endurance features of Ramtron's non-volatile ferroelectric RAM memory technology with wireless access to enable innovative data collection capabilities for a broad range of applications.

Ramtron's first family of wireless memory devices, named the MaxArias WM710xx product line, features FRAM memory with passive UHF EPCglobal Class-1 Generation-2 wireless access in a transponder IC with 4-, 8-, and 16Kbit user memory densities. The WM710xx family is suitable for applications spanning many industries including aircraft/industrial manufacturing, inventory control, maintenance tracking, building security, electronic toll collection, pharmaceutical tracking, and product authentication, among others. Production of WM710xx family is scheduled to begin in Q1 10.

"With our MaxArias line, Ramtron is creating a new category of wireless memory products that bring new data collection capabilities to a host of applications," remarked Dan Secrest, Ramtron's senior marketing manager. "Our MaxArias products will allow system integrators and users to reliably capture, transmit, and store more information using our RF-enabled devices. By employing the global EPC Gen-2 RFID protocol, coupled with our industry standard non-volatile ferroelectric RAM, MaxArias can enhance efficiency in today's fast-paced, global supply chains."

"Our strategy is to build on our base of FRAM memory business by leveraging low power FRAM features to exploit emerging market opportunities and further differentiate FRAM from other memory solutions, while continuing our aggressive pace of new product development. Initially, we plan to focus on the RFID market, specifically high-value asset tracking and wireless metering, among others," said Bill Staunton, CEO, Ramtron.

Ramtron's first family of MaxArias wireless memory combines up to 16Kbits of high-performance, non-volatile ferroelectric RAM memory with EPCglobal Class-1 Generation-2 UHF Air Interface Protocol Standard, operating at 860MHz-960MHz. When combined with an optimized antenna design, the MaxArias WM710xx product family powers up with energy harvested directly from the RF field. As specified in the Gen-2 standard, the MaxArias chip receives and processes commands transmitted by the RFID reader.

The first MaxArias wireless memory devicesWM71004, WM71008, and WM71016are organized as 256/512/1024 x 16 bits, respectively. The devices have virtually unlimited read/write endurance of 1E14 (100-trillion) writes and 20-year data retention. MaxArias wireless memory offers fully symmetrical operation for reads and writes in terms of range, sustained memory access bandwidth, and reliabilityall at the maximum data rates allowed by the Gen-2 standard.

EEPROM comparison

Ramtron's MaxArias wireless memory offers unique benefits over traditional EEPROM-based RF-enabled ICs. Greater RF sensitivity is achieved because the WM710xx write operations are zero power, resulting in no power or speed penalty for executing writes. It offers improved range because the low power ferroelectric RAM-enabled MaxArias wireless memory provides symmetrical wireless reads/writes at 10m or more. It achieves write-speed up to 6x faster than EEPROM by enabling full memory block-write operations that allow more data to be stored faster without the required "soak time" of EEPROM-based devices. Data integrity is ensured with Ramtron's SureWrite feature that prevents data corruption during full block-writes. And because ferroelectric RAM is invulnerable to magnetic fields and highly tolerant to gamma radiation, the MaxArias wireless memory is an ideal choice for applications that are subject to magnetic or irradiating fields.

The WM710xx MaxArias wireless memory operates over the industrial temperature range (-40C to +85C). The WM710xx will be offered in several configurations: a standard RoHS-compatible 6-pin UDFN package, bumped wafer, bare dice, or as a fully tested ISO-18000-6C compliant transponder antenna inlay.

For application notes on FRAMs click here.

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