Radical Memory Design Could See Commercial Use Soon
IBM and Infineon Technologies AG have announced the most advanced magnetic random access memory (MRAM) technology to date — a high-speed 128Kbit MRAM core fabricated with 0.18-micron process technology. The latter, the smallest size yet reported for MRAM, allowed the partners to incorporate a memory-cell size of 1.4 square microns (about 20 million times smaller than the top of the average pencil eraser).
MRAM, which uses magnetic rather than electronic charges to store bits of data, holds the potential to store more information and access it faster, using less battery power than the memory used today. (See CPU Planet’s “Flash Forward, Part 2” feature — Ed.) It combines the best features of today’s common memory designs — the capacity and low cost of DRAM, the high speed of SRAM, and the instant-on, nonvolatile storage of flash memory. Infineon says its joint venture with IBM, Altis Semiconductor, will lead to availability of a product demonstrator early next year, with production readiness of MRAM as early as 2005.