MUNICH, Germany IBM and TDK Corp. have announced a joint R&D program to bring MRAM memory technology to market. The companies plan to leverage the spin momentum transfer effect in order to shrink memory cells.
The joint R&D program will focus on creating a high-density, high-capacity MRAM circuit which can be used as standalone memory or embedded into other chips, IBM explained.
The research work will be conducted at IBM's TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, the company's ASIC design center in Burlington and TDKs R&D center in Milpitas.
According to press reports, the project is designed for four years.
MRAM is a non-volatile memory technology which differs from Flash memory by that it offers unlimited read and write cycles. In comparison to other memory technologies, it also uses less power, IBM claims. However, market acceptance has been limited by the industry's inability to cost effectively increase capacity. This is where spin momentum transfer technology enters the game: It allows significantly reducing cell size and thereby increasing capacity at low cost while maintaining low power, endurance and non-volatility advantages, IBM claims. These properties could make MRAM a preferred technology for automotive, cellphone, handheld computing and industrial controls applications.