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Crocus: MLU tech could pave way for NAND MRAM

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:magnetic memory? NAND MRAM? thermally assisted magnetic switching?

Magnetic RAM supplier Crocus Technology Inc. has developed what it calls Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) technology, a version of its thermally assisted magnetic switching (TAS) designed for memory access and storage. According to the company, the new technology could enable the implementation of NAND-like memory in MRAM and search memories.

The innovation will expand the market for magnetic technology by opening up applications in data storage, secure commerce and communications, network processing and automotive and industrial uses, Crocus claimed. However, the company did not say how quickly it would move to production or with what types of sizes of memory.

In high-density memory applications, MLU opens the way to implementation of NAND-like configurations in magnetic memory. MLU NAND memory can be two to four times denser than conventional magnetic memory with the added benefit of full random access, Crocus said.

Crocus' MLU technology can be set in one of three modes by setting the reference layer magnetization, which is normally fixed in an MRAM cell. The three modes are NAND, NOR or XOR.

Crocus' MLU XOR, called Match-In-Place, implements compare and encryption functions, making smart cards, identity cards, SIM cards and NFC devices tamper-proof. Match-In-Place also implements the search and compare functions required in network routing applications and can achieve up to 50x the density of conventional CMOS hardware search processors. In addition, MLU in all its configurations is capable of normal operation at temperatures up to 200 degrees C, making it ideal for use in automotive and industrial electronics.

"MLU has the potential to replace SRAM, DRAM, NAND, NOR and OTP in many standalone and embedded memory products," said Bertrand Cambou, executive chairman of Crocus, in a statement. "Because MLU's NOR, NAND and XOR capabilities are built on a single wafer manufacturing process with different design architectures, they can be easily integrated into SoC implementations."

MLU is compatible with Crocus' current wafer manufacturing process and Crocus plans to establish volume production of MLU-based products in 130nm at foundry partner Tower Semiconductor, as well as at its Russian subsidiary Crocus Nano Electronics (CNE) for 90nm 65nm, 45nm and smaller geometries.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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