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Friday, September 16, 2016

MRAM opens up low power IoT applications

By Nick Flaherty

After years of development, magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) looks set to become a standard technology as it rolls out on the 22nm process technology from GLOBALFOUNDRIES. The move will allow lower power IoT chip designs coming to market in 2018.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES had been working with startup Everspin Technologies, and has now introduced a scalable, embedded MRAM non-volatile memory technology (eMRAM) on its 22FDX platform.

This provides embedded system designers with access to 1,000x faster write speeds and 1,000x more endurance than today’s non-volatile memory (NVM) offerings. 22FDX eMRAM also features the ability to retain data through 260°C solder reflow with an industry-leading eMRAM bitcell size.

The 22FDX platform is the industry’s first 22nm fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) technology which enables the MRAM capability for both code storage (flash) and working memory (SRAM).  The power efficiency of FDX and eMRAM, coupled with the available RF connectivity IP, makes 22FDX an ideal platform for battery-powered IoT products and automotive controllers.

“Customers are looking for a high-performance non-volatile memory solution that expands their product capabilities," said Gregg Bartlett, senior vice president CMOS Platforms Business Unit, GLOBALFOUNDRIES. "Our introduction of 22FDX eMRAM enables system designers with new capabilities, allowing them to build greater functionality into their MCUs and SoCs, while enhancing performance and power efficiency.”

“Emerging non-volatile memories are moving from the lab to the fab,” said Thomas Coughlin, President of Coughlin Associates. “GLOBALFOUNDRIES' 22FDX eMRAM will offer a major advancement in SoC capabilities, by leveraging the key performance attributes of embedded MRAM. Designers of battery powered IoT devices, automotive MCUs and SoCs and SSD storage controllers will certainly want to take advantage of this versatile embedded NVM technology.”

The partnership with Everspin has already delivered the world’s highest density ST-MRAM in August, 2016 with a 256Mbit DDR3 perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction (pMTJ) memory chip that is being readied for mass production.

The 22FDX eMRAM is currently in development and is expected to be available for customer prototyping in 2017, with volume production in 2018. GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ eMRAM technology is scalable beyond 22nm and is expected to be available on both FinFET and future FDX platforms.

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