SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After roughly seven years in R&D, MRAM hopeful MagSil Corp. has emerged from stealth mode and provided some details about its technology.
MagSil, based here, is developing MRAM based on a so-called Magnetic Recording (iMR) cell architecture. The structure of the device appears to be based on a traditional magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) scheme.
The company’s technology is reportedly based on a patent owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which was exclusively licensed to MagSil. MagSil and MIT have filed several patent suits against companies over the technology.
Meanwhile, in 2006 and 2007, MagSil devised a 1-megabit MRAM. The company is now looking to roll out a standalone MRAM device "pretty soon," said Krish Mani, founder and chief technology officer at MagSil, during a presentation at the Flash Memory Summit here.
The company did not elaborate. Over time, it plans to develop a 64-Mbit device. MagSil is developing its devices based on 130- and 90-nm processes and a 10F2 cell size.
The goal is to devise a device at fast speeds, he said. ‘’In the near term, we want to replace the SRAM,’’ followed by embedded RAM, he said.
MagSil has not officially launched its technology but has been active on the legal front. MagSil and MIT recently reached an out-of-of-court settlement with Western Digital Corp. by which Western Digital and its affiliates received a license to the patent at issue in the suit.
Litigation is still pending in federal district court in Delaware against Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi America and Shenzen ExcelStor Technology. The defendants are alleged to have infringed a patent owned by MIT and exclusively licensed to MagSil by making and selling hard disk drives or hard disk drive components using tunneling magnetoresistive (TMR) technology.
To date, MagSil has reached out-of-court settlements with Seagate Technologies, SAE Magnetics and Headway Technologies, in addition to Western Digital.
MRAM is a memory that uses the magnetism of electron spin to provide non-volatility. MRAMs have been in development since the 1990s, but many of the announcements have been hype at best. MRAM has been a difficult technology to develop, make and scale.
Several companies have tried but failed to commercialize MRAMs. Other companies are planning to enter the MRAM market, including Crocus Technology, Grandis, IBM-TDK, Samsung, Toshiba and Avalanche Technology.
One company is actually shipping product in volumes. For some time, Everspin has sold its MRAM products as ''drop-in replacements'' for SRAMs. Everspin is the MRAM spin-off of Freescale Semiconductor Inc.
It's hard to replace SRAM with a technology that requires new elements besides the usual transistors. If embedded DRAM took hold, MRAM could replace it, but it's not established as an SRAM replacement either.
Isn't it ironic how technology repeats itself?
I am hoping that they can improve density along the lines of Moores Law.
I am looking forward to systems that can recover from a power off condition to the exact state it was in when it went into a super low power mode.
Towards the end of this article it is informed that "Everspin" has actually started to ship MRAM chips in large volume. Is "Everspin" some how related to MagSil or did they buy license from MagSil?
I would love to hear from somebody who might have used this memory in the design? Looks like this memory chip is volatile like SRAMs, correct? Are there any special advantages over SRAM? Since this is a new technology, won't this be costlier, atleast for some time?
Well, this one will certainly be interesting to watch. "pretty soon" is a bit nebulous, and makes it tough for companies that might want to use the technology in their products to plan properly, but it would certainly be nice to see this technology come to fruition and leave the hype behind.
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