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Crocus, IBM collaborate for MRAM tech

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MRAM? partnership? non-volatile memory?

Crocus Technology Inc. has entered a joint technology development and a patent license agreement with IBM Corp. The deal aims to develop a semiconductor technology that combines Crocus' thermally-assisted magnetic logic unit (MLU) MRAM technology with IBM's magneto-resistive MRAM non-volatile memory technology and processing expertise.

Although no details were released as to how the project would be carried out, it seems that the deal is intended to take Crocus beyond the 130nm node that the company is working on with Israel-based Tower Semiconductor Ltd. Crocus said it plans to deploy the manufacturing process resulting from its cooperation with IBM at its Russian wafer fab, Crocus Nano Electronics. This implies a target of high-capacity standalone MRAMs made on 90 and 65nm process technologies.

It was not disclosed whether IBM would also be a manufacturer of standalone MRAMs or use the technology for embedded applications, nor were any financial details revealed.

The MLU technology from Crocus is a thermally-assisted magnetic switch for memory access and storage. Crocus claims it scales well and its use opens up the possibility of NAND-like memory implemented in MRAM, including multibit cells and dedicated search memories for use in Internet servers.

IBM's MRAM technology promises significant advantages over competing memory applications including low power usage, high speed, unlimited read and write cycles and inherent non-volatility where data can be retained even if power is discontinued. MRAM has the potential to enable 'instant-on' computers and longer battery life for mobile computing devices, the company added.

"We look forward to collaborating with Crocus to further the development of advanced magnetic semiconductor technologies that can lead to increased function and performance in semiconductor products," said William Gallagher, senior manager of quantum computing and exploratory magnetic memories for IBM.

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