Electronics outfit Micross has announced the launch of a 1 gigabit magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) component, its highest-density part yet - and a device it hopes will prove the future of spintronics for high-reliability computing in harsh environments.
Packaged in 18x20mm ceramic land-grid array (LGA) and ball-grid array (BGA) formats, the compact Micross chip represents the company's highest-density MRAM part yet - all part of its attempts to convince a range of markets that the spintronics-based MRAM, which stores data as magnetic elements rather than electric charges or current flows, is the superior choice for high-reliability electronics.
The new part isn’t designed to replace dynamic or static RAM, for all that Micross provides it with an SRAM-compatible interface. Instead, the company positions MRAM products as an alternative to flash storage - but with an inherent resistance to “harsh environments,” explaining the company’s target markets of aerospace, defence, space, and industrial.
Avalanche, the company behind the MRAM inside Micross' chip, announced its launch of spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive RAM (STT-MRAM) technology back in 2015, at the time using a 55nm process but targeting a transition to a sub-10nm process as manufacturing capabilities matured.
The version of Avalanche's STT-MRAM tech powering the Micross part has dropped to a 22nm process node, which undoubtedly helped the companies deliver the impressive density gains seen in the new release: a sixty-four-fold boost over Micross' original MRAM part, which held just 16Mb.
"Avalanche's next-gen 22nm Perpendicular Spin Transfer Torque MRAM technology has enabled Micross to provide greater SWaP [Size, Weight, and Power] savings through the addition of our 1Gb Hermetic MRAM to Micross' hi-reliability memory portfolio," claimed Jeremy Adams, vice president of products and services at Micross, in a prepared statement.
"Micross' 1Gb MRAM offers more than 64x the density of our initial 16Mb MRAM, with an improved bit density per mm² of 2.844Mb as compared with a bit density per mm² of 163.84kb. The low power, infinite endurance, high performance and scalability of Avalanche's next generation STT-MRAM technology allows Micross to continue delivering the world's most compact and efficient, non-volatile hi-reliability memory solutions for the aerospace and space industries."
The part, which is available in standard, radiation-tolerant, and radiation-hardened variants for those who need such things, offers over 10 years of data retention across a -40°C to +125°C temperature range - and a stable 45ns access time across its operating temperature range, too, the compan claimed.
Micross isn't alone in offering MRAM parts, however: in 2019 Samsung began shipping embedded MRAM (eMRAM) built on a 28nm silicon-on-insulator process node, a year after Everspin offered MRAM tech as an add-in card for servers and workstations. The heart of the technology, meanwhile, dates back to work at IBM in 1974 which would eventually see use in a prototyped MRAM chip in 1998.
The Reg asked Micross for pricing information on the new parts byt the company didn't respond in time for publication. Interested parties are free to contact the company through its website. ®