LONDON Crocus Technology Inc., a vendor of magnetic RAMs, has signed a technology development and wafer manufacturing agreement with Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC), China's most advanced semiconductor foundry.
Under the terms of the deal the two companies have agreed to develop high-temperature Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) technology targeted at automotive applications. The base wafer processing will be done by SMIC and these wafers will be further processed by Crocus at a facility that has yet to be built in Russia.
In addition the MLU technology could be licensed to SMIC for use in embedded chip applications and the two companies plan to market jointly smart cards made using TAS MLU and MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) technology.
MLU is an adaption of thermally-assisted magnetic switching (TAS) for use in memory access in addition to the storage itself and opens up the possibility of NAND-like memory implemented in MRAM and search memories, Crocus (Grenoble, France) has claimed.
Crocus and has formed a joint venture Crocus Nano Electronics to build and operate a magnetic semiconductor manufacturing facility in Russia. That collaboration, worth $300 million, is with the state-owned nanoelectronics investment agency Rusnano. Crocus also has manufacturing agreements in place with Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Migdal Haemek, Israel) and IBM.
"This agreement [with SMIC] solidifies our manufacturing plan for building MLU products at advanced technology nodes," said Bertrand Cambou, executive chairman of Crocus Technology, in a statement. "MLU technology brings significant benefits in functionality and cost," said Tzu-Yin Chiu, CEO of SMIC, in the same statement.