MRAM Manufacture, equipment, process, etc.

Successful MRAM Production Requires Good Magnetic Test Equipment

This is a sponsored post by Integral Solutions Int'l

MRAM is likely to be the most promising next-generation non-volatile memory technology today. Toggle MRAM and STT-MRAM are already entering the market, gaining market share in many applications. Next-generation MRAM technologies, such as SOT-MRAM could enable the replacement of even the fastest SRAM applications, with higher densities.

MRAM Manufacturing Process Flow (Coughlin)Source: Coughlin Associates, 2019

The MRAM production process has many stages, as device architecture is relatively complex, with a magnetic cell (frontplane) fabricated on top of a CMOS backplane. (use Figure 2 or Figure 3 from Coughlin). Measurement and characterization of devices are highly important, and the production of MRAM memories depend on measurement tools are are specialized for MRAM and STT-MRAM measurements.

Hprobe raises over 2 million Euros to support its MRAM device testing equipment development

Hprobe, a developer of testing equipment for magnetic devices, has raised more than 2 million euros from a group of international investors. The new funds will support Hprobe's spintronics device testing development - which include MRAM and TMR sensors.

Hprobe wafer prober system photo

The investment round was led by Germany-based High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), a public-private venture capital investment firm. Other investors include Taiwan ITRI's ITIC VC firm and TEL Venture Capital.

Applied Materials unveils new high-volume 300mm MRAM manufacturing system

Applied Materials unveiled new high-volume manufacturing solutions for next-generation memories. The Endura platform integrates multiple materials engineering technologies along with on-board metrology to create new films and structures.

Applied Materials Endura Clover MRAM PVD system photo

Applied’s new Endura Clover MRAM PVD platform is made up of nine unique wafer processing chambers all integrated in pristine, high-vacuum conditions. Applied says that this is the industry's first 300-millimeter MRAM system for high-volume manufacturing capable of individually depositing up to five different materials per chamber. The Clover MRAM PVD platform includes on-board metrology that measures and monitors the thickness of the MRAM layers with sub-angstrom sensitivity as they are created to ensure atomic-level uniformity.

Analysts expect MRAM revenues to grow 170X by 2029 to reach $4 billion

A new market report by Objective Analysis and Coughlin Associates expects that stand-alone MRAM and STT-MRAM revenues will grow 170X from 2018 to 2029, reaching almost $4 billion in revenues. The growth of next-generation memory technologies will be mainly driven by displacing today’s less efficient memory technologies like NOR flash and SRAM.

MRAM capacity shipments forecast (2017-2029, Coughlin)The analysts expect many memory technologies, including DRAM, 3D Xpoint and NAND to grow in the coming years, but the most stellar growth will be of MRAM memories. Shipments in terms of capacity are expected to grow from around 0.1 Petabytes in 2019 to almost 1 million Petabytes by 2029.

Keysight Technology announces a new MRAM test platform designed in collaboration with Tohoku University

Tohoku University's Center for Innovative Integrated Electronic System (CIES) announced that its collaboration with Keysight Technology has led to the release of a new MRAM test platform product, the NX5730A.

Kesight NX5730A Memory Test system photo

Keysight's NX5730A is a high-throughput 1 ns Pulsed IV memory test solution. Keysight says that this solution is a unique dedicated system for characterizing emerging devices such as magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) on silicon wafers, accelerating the efficiency of device characterization and memory production testing.

Veeco: high volume manufacturing using our Ion Beam Etch systems to begin in 2018

Veeco developed an Ion Beam Etch system for MRAM production, and during the company's Q3 2017 conference call it updated on the new system.

Veeco MRAM IBE slide, Q3-2017

Veeco says that its Ion Beam technology is well suited for etching the multilayer magnetic stack used in MRAM chips. Veeco already placed systems at multiple customers and expect high volume manufacturing to start next year for embedded memory applications.

Samsung will be ready with MRAM chips "soon"

Samsung logoSamsung's semiconductor chief Kim Ki-nam says that Samsung is developing next-generation memory technologies, such as MRAM and RRAM. According to Kim "Samsung will commercialize MRAMs and ReRAMs according to our own schedule. We are on our way and will be ready soon"

Samsung targets MRAM as an update to DRAM memory, while RRAM will be used as a storage memory to replace NAND.

New etching process developed specifically for MRAM production

Researcher from Cornell's NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF), in collaboration with Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology (OIPT) developed a new etching process targeted specifically for MRAM device fabrication.

The MTJ developed by CNF and OIPD

The etching of the MTJ stack is a challenging step in MRAM fabrication, because the magnetic materials do not easily react to etching agents, and so manufactures usually use purely physical ion milling processes - which results in low etch rates, low selectivity and damage to the device structure itself.

Coughlin sees the MRAM market growing to over $1.3 billion in 2020

A new report from Coughlin Associates says that in the near future we will see dramatic changes in the memory market as as fast non-volatile memories augment and eventually replace volatile memory.

Memory technology shipping storage capacity forecast (Coughlin)

MRAM (and STT-MRAM) annual shipping capacity will rise from 240TB in 2014 to between 15 and 35 PB in 2020. MRAM and STT-RAM revenues are expected to increase from about $300 million in 2014 to between $1.35 and $3.15 billion by 2020.

Crocus raised $21 million, has over 250 sensor customers, will break even in Q1 2016

Crocus Technology has secured $21 million in a new financing round. All of Crocus’ historical French and international investors participated in the round, including NanoDimension, Innovation Capital, IdInvest Partners, and Rusnano. Founded in 2004, Crocus has raised $194 million to date.

Crocus says that since it began producing MLU-based magnetic sensors in mid-2014, they have over 250 customers. The new capital will help Crocus to deploy its sensor product line in the key target markets: industrial, consumer electronics, automotive and solutions for IoT. Crocus will also strengthen its commercial resources (including finalizing a distribution network in Asia and reinforcing the support team) and develop develop new designs to enrich the product portfolio with integrated sensor and smart sensor applications. Crocus aims to reach breakeven in Q1 2016.