IBM signs deal to push MRAM development

IBM has signed a deal to team up with an MRAM manufacturer, with a view to collaborating on the development and production of the nascent memory technology.

There are a number of new memory types which are touted for long term use, and IBM seems to be putting some weight behind magnetoresistive RAM as a frontrunner.  There have been plenty of lab developments with MRAM and it could offer a viable altenative to current memory technologies.

IBM struck a deal has been struck with Crocus Technology which will see Crocus share its thermally assisted magnetic logic unit technology with IBM, which already has its own MRAM processing capabilities.

The deal will involve a patent licence which will enable the two to collaborate and develop MRAM, and push it into semiconductors.

The combination of the technology should open up new applications in non-volatile high density storage while offering low power consumption.

IBM says that MRAM has the potential to enable instant-on mobile computing with much longer battery life.

The joint venture between IBM and Crocus will lead to production through Crocus’ manufacturing venture, Crocus Nano Electronics (CNE).

It was announced last week that Crocus had appointed a new CEO for CNE, and plans to ramp up an MRAM fab for production in Russia. So there could be MRAM production in the not too distant future from IBM. 

Crocus had already announced that it will receive around $300 million in investment from a state-owned Russian fund, Rusnano, with a view to kick-starting production. 

No location has been set for the fab yet, but it will apparently be the world’s first for dedicated MRAM.

The fab will produce 90 nanometre and 65nm process using 300mm wafers.  It will begin operations in 2013, and will be capable of producing 500 wafers per week at first before expanding capacity to 1,000 wafer starts per week.