Electronic Design

IBM, TDK Partner For MRAM Development

IBM and TDK Corp. will collaborate on an R&D program to develop high capacity MRAM (Magnetic Random Access Memory). MRAM harnesses electron spin, a technique the companies believe will allow a for a more compact memory cell than is currently available. The high density, high capacity MRAM ICs will be able to function as standalone memory or can be embedded into other IC solutions. "This collaborative initiative reinforces IBM's commitment to explore new phenomena for memory applications," T.C. Chen, vice president of science and technology for IBM Research, said in a statement. "The project will focus on creating and demonstrating advanced magnetic materials in demanding memory chip designs." "This joint research and development will broaden the application of magnetic materials which has been TDK's core technology since 1935," Minoru Takahashi, CTO of TDK Corp., said in a statement. MRAM is a non-volatile memory technology that offers low power usage, high speed, and unlimited endurance. Market adoption of MRAM has been limited by the inability to cost effectively increase capacity, according to an IBM release. Spin momentum transfer technology enables MRAM to significantly reduce cell size and increase capacity cost-effectively. The research will be conducted at three IBM centers — TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY; Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CA; and its ASIC Design Center in Burlington, VT — and at TDK's subsidiary R&D Center in Milpitas, CA.

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