Just the facts, STT-MRAM: Your DRAM replacement's on its way

Fast switching of super-small magnetic tunnel junctions

Spin Transfer-Torque Magnetic RAM (STT-MRAM) is a future DRAM replacement candidate. It uses one of two different spin directions of electrons to signal a binary one or zero.

IBM and Samsung scientists have published an IEEE paper* demonstrating switching MRAM cells for 655 devices with diameters ranging from 50 down to 11 nanometers in just 10 nanoseconds using only 7.5 microamperes. They say it is a significant achievement towards the development of Spin Torque MRAM.

The authors write that “in the early stages of the development of new STT-MRAM materials, the yields of ultra-small devices are low and standard memory tests are difficult.”

They developed novel digital tests and demonstrated that a single MTJ (magnetic tunnel junction) stack with PMA (perpendicular magnetic anisotropy) materials is capable of delivering "good STT performance down to 11 nm device size.”

IBM_Samsung_wafer_guy

IBM scientist Janusz Nowak holds an STT-MRAM wafer.

They write that “STT switching is a complicated dynamic phenomenon which needs to be examined in detail on a large and statistically significant sample to ensure the error-free operation of MRAM devices.” This means that research engineers now have a far better predictor of the likely performance of the STT-MRAM chips they develop. ®

* The IEEE paper is entitled "Voltage and size dependence on write-error-rates in STT MRAM down to 11 nm junction size."

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