Inside The New Non-Volatile Memories


The search continues for new non-volatile memories (NVMs) to challenge the existing incumbents, but before any technology can be accepted, it must be proven reliable. “Everyone is searching for a universal memory,” says TongSwan Pang, Fujitsu senior marketing manager. "Different technologies have different reliability challenges, and not all of them may be able to operate in automotive g... » read more

Memory Issues For AI Edge Chips


Several companies are developing or ramping up AI chips for systems on the network edge, but vendors face a variety of challenges around process nodes and memory choices that can vary greatly from one application to the next. The network edge involves a class of products ranging from cars and drones to security cameras, smart speakers and even enterprise servers. All of these applications in... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: March 17


MRAM speed Researchers at ETH Zurich and Imec investigated exactly how quickly magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) can store data. In the team's MRAM, electrons with opposite spin directions are spatially separated by the spin-orbit interaction, creating an effective magnetic field that can be used to invert the direction of magnetization of a tiny metal dot. "We know from earlier experiments, i... » read more

MRAM Process Development And Production Briefing


By Dr. Meng Zhu, Dr. Roman Sappey, and Jeff Barnum MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random-Access Memory) is a type of non-volatile memory (NVM) that utilizes magnetic states to store information. The basic structure of MRAM is a magnetic-tunnel junction (MTJ), which consists of two ferromagnetic (FM) layers separated by an insulating tunnel barrier (Fig.1). When the magnetizations of the two magnetic... » read more

Taming Novel NVM Non-Determinism


New memory technologies may have non-deterministic characteristics that add calibration to the test burden — and may require recalibration during their lifetime. Many of these memories are in development as a result of the search for a storage-class memory (SCM) technology that can bridge the gap between larger, slower memories like flash and faster DRAM memory. There are several approache... » read more

Battling Persistent Hacks At The Flash Level


Hardware vendors are beginning to close up security vulnerabilities across a broader range of technology than in the past, a sign that they are taking potential hardware breaches much more seriously. Awareness of security flaws has been growing since the introduction of Meltdown, Spectre and Foreshadow, and more recently, the Cable Haunt attack. The general conclusion among chipmakers is tha... » read more

Startup Funding: February 2020


AI drew the biggest investments last month, with two AI hardware companies and one autonomous driving software startup pulling in nine-figure sums. Investors also pumped money into semiconductor manufacturing and test equipment, notably around EUV lithography and advanced packaging. AI Hardware SambaNova Systems received $250M in Series C funding for its software-defined hardware for AI, le... » read more

The MCU Dilemma


The humble microcontroller is getting squeezed on all sides. While most of the semiconductor industry has been able to take advantage of Moore's Law, the MCU market has faltered because flash memory does not scale beyond 40nm. At the same time, new capabilities such as voice activation and richer sensor networks are requiring inference engines to be integrated for some markets. In others, re... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 21


Two-layer MRAM Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology propose a simpler MRAM construction that could perform faster with less power than conventional memories. The idea relies on unidirectional spin Hall magnetoresistance (USMR), a spin-related phenomenon that could be used to develop MRAM cells with an extremely simple structure. The spin Hall effect leads to the accumulation of elect... » read more

Building An MRAM Array


MRAM is gaining traction in a variety of designs as a middle-level type of memory, but there are reasons why it took so long to bring this memory to market. A typical magnetoresistive RAM architecture is based on CoFeB magnetic layers, with an MgO tunneling barrier. The reference layer should have zero net magnetization to make sure that it doesn’t influence the orientation of the free lay... » read more

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