Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. have extended separate memory research partnerships in attempts to add to their capabilities at the leading-edge of chip production and find technology that can scale beyond the limits of NAND flash memory.
Freescale, based in Austin, Texas, has expanded an agreement with intellectual property licensor Rambus Inc. to gain access to memory controllers and serial link technologies and to work in collaboration on resistive memory technology for embedded applications, a technology that Rambus labels eRRAM. The expanded agreement extends the terms of an existing license agreement until 2018, but the value of the deal and other terms were not disclosed.
Rambus acquired a 10-year-old non-volatile memory startup Unity Semiconductor Corp. in February 2012 for $35 million. (See: Rambus buys memory startup for $35 million.) Unity had been developing a metal oxide-based, cross-point, two-terminal, non-volatile memory cell under the name CMOx. The research was thought to be some distance from commercialization, although numerous other companies are also developing resistive RAM technologies. (See: ReRAM Startup Bets on Silver .)
"Rambus' resistive memory eRRAM technology promises to be a compelling solution for non-volatile memory in the embedded processing market, and we look forward to working with Rambus to jointly explore this technology," said David Kramer, director of Freescale Discovery Labs, in a press release.
In a separate announcement, the IMEC research institute in Leuven, Belgium, said that Micron had signed a three-year extension to a strategic research collaboration on advanced CMOS scaling. Micron is one of a number of leading semiconductor manufacturers working with IMEC on materials, devices, process steps, and integration for manufacturing at critical dimension below 10nm. Micron joined the core CMOS and flash memory research programs at IMEC in 2006.
"We look forward to continuing our partnership with IMEC on technology R&D, exploring new device concepts and new materials that have the potential to enable advanced memory solutions for Micron in the future," said Scott DeBoer, vice president of R&D at Micron, in the press release.