SAN FRANCISCO—Chip foundry Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd and chip and materials vendor Symetrix Corp. will collaborate to offer non-volatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) as a standard memory offering for the first time under the terms of an agreement announced Wednesday (Dec. 7).
FRAM, also known as FeRAM, is a niche non-volatile memory type used in applications such as smart cards, smart meters and automotive controllers. FRAM devices write faster than flash but are more expensive to produce and thus currently make up a small percentage of the overall memory chip market.
Silterra (Kulim, Malaysia) and Symterix (Colorado Springs, Colo.) said making FRAM a standard offering at Silterra will enable the design community to incorporate the features of the technology into their designs. According to the companies, FRAM technology writes data fast, often and at very low power that is typically greater than 1,000 times better than embedded flash memory.
The companies claim the collaboration marks the first time that FRAM technology will be made available by a foundry as a standard offering. FRAM vendor Ramtron International Corp. offers FRAM devices built by IBM Corp. under a foundry agreement.
Symetrix will supply the process technology and will work jointly with Silterra to qualify the FRAM process on SilTerra’s CL180LP low power logic process, the companies said. Because the incorporation of FRAM does not alter the underlying CMOS characteristics, all of the standard design libraries for this process will be available, they said. A library of silicon-proven FRAM memory macros will also be developed for use by Silterra customers, the companies said.