LONDON – One year after a striking a deal to develop magnetic logic for automotive applications, Crocus and Chinese foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. have agreed to take devices down to the 45-nm manufacturing node and for SMIC to create a full process flow.
Crocus said it expects to deliver several hundred million secure microcontrollers to the smart card industry over the next three years.
The magnetic logic unit (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 SMIC have now said they intend to make microcontrollers based on MLU technology for use in applications such as smart cards and secure data servers.
Under the terms of the agreement SMIC will supply CMOS wafers for the production of MLU-based circuits at 90-nm, 65- and 45-nm nodes with a path to process the entire flow. Under the previous agreement some back-end processing was to have been done by Crocus at a facility in Russia.
Crocus Nano Electronics was formed to build and operate a magnetic semiconductor manufacturing facility in Russia with investment from the state-owned nanoelectronics investment agency Rusnano. Crocus also has manufacturing agreements in place with Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Migdal Haemek, Israel) and IBM.
Crocus has placed its first orders with SMIC to supply 200-mm diameter CMOS wafers, which will be delivered for magnetic processing by year-end. SMIC will also supply 300-mm full flow MLU wafers, including the Crocus' magnetic process layer.