Samsung and Intel Will Accelerate the Pace of Embedded Business

At the 64th International Electronic components Conference (IEDM) held last week, Intel and Samsung, the world's two semiconductor giants, announced the new technology of embedded MRAM in logic chip manufacturing process.

Intel introduced the key characteristics of spin transfer torque (STT) - MRAM nonvolatile memory integrated into its 22ffl process, and referred to it as "the first MRAM technology based on FinFET". Intel said that the technology was "production ready" at present, but did not disclose which foundry adopted the process; However, according to several sources, the technology has been used in the products currently in shipment.

Meanwhile, Samsung introduced STT-MRAM manufactured in its 28nm fdsoi process. In terms of scalability, shape adjustability and magnetic scalability, STT-MRAM is regarded as the best MRAM technology at present. MRAM technology has been developed since the 1990s, but it has not achieved extensive commercial success. Yoon Jong song, chief engineer of Samsung R & D center, said, "I think it's time to show the manufacturability and commercialization achievements of MRAM!" song is also the main author of the company's paper published in IEDM.

As the industry continues to move towards smaller technology nodes, DRAM and NAND flash are facing severe miniaturization challenges. Therefore, MRAM is regarded as an alternative stand-alone component that is expected to replace these memory chips. In addition, this nonvolatile memory is also regarded as an attractive embedded technology because of its fast read / write time, high tolerance and strong retention ability, which is suitable to replace flash and embedded SRAM. Embedded MRAM is considered to be particularly suitable for applications such as Internet of things (IOT) devices.

The electron microscope image shows the cross section of the MTJ array embedded between metal 2 and metal 4 in the Intel 22nm FinFET logic process.

Since last year, global foundries has been supplying embedded MRAM using its 22fdx 22 nm fd-soi process. However, Jim handy, chief analyst of objective analysis, said he did not notice any commercial product launch using Globalfoundries embedded MRAM technology.

"The reason why no one adopts it is that they have to add new materials," he said. However, with the reduction of manufacturing costs and the challenges of other memory technologies, embedded MRAM is becoming more and more popular. "Importantly, with the development of new technology, the size of SRAM memory cells will not shrink with the subsequent advanced technology. Therefore, MRAM will become more and more attractive," handy said

Intel said in a paper published by IEDM that its embedded MRAM technology can achieve 10-year data retention at 200 ° C, with a tolerance of more than 106 switching cycles. The technology uses 216 × 225 mm 1t-1r memory unit. Meanwhile, Samsung said its tolerance of 8MB MRAM was 106 cycles, which also supported 10-year retention.

Song said that Samsung's technology will be aimed at Internet of things (IOT) applications at the beginning, and will be introduced into automotive and industrial applications after improving reliability. "We have successfully transferred this technology from the laboratory to the wafer factory and are expected to be available in the near future."

Samsung and Intel Will Accelerate the Pace of Embedded Business 1

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