ITRI partners with industry and academia for development of groundbreaking Magnetic Memory Technology
ITRI has announced new collaborations with industry and academic partners on making advancements in magnetic memory technology, where the use of lower voltage and current in the memory can lead to higher efficiencies.
The organisation has worked with semiconductor manufacturing leader TSMC in the development of Spin Orbit Torque Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (SOT-MRAM) array chips.
Meanwhile, it joined hands with National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU) to develop magnetic memory technology that can perform across a wide operating temperature range of nearly 400°C. Both developments are pivotal for industries to move towards next-generation memory technology.
Dr Shih-Chieh Chang, General Director of ITRI’s Electronic and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories, pointed out that the use of lower voltage and current in the memory can lead to higher efficiency. Therefore, ITRI and TSMC developed SOT-MRAM technology that incorporates high write efficiency and low write voltage, achieving a writing speed of 0.4 nanoseconds and a high endurance of 7 trillion reads and writes.
The memory also offers a data storage lifespan of over 10 years. In the future, it can potentially be integrated into the advanced processes of embedded memory, which has outstanding prospects in applications such as AI, automotive electronics, and high-performance computing chips.
In the ITRI-NYCU collaboration, both parties have worked to develop high-efficiency operating technology for MRAM and jointly presented the R&D results at this year’s IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits, one of the leading events in the global semiconductor industry. The newly developed Spin-Transfer-Torque MRAM (STT-MRAM) adopts ultra-thin composite films and magnesium spacers to boost writing speed, reduce latency, minimise writing current, and improve endurance.
The multi-functional magnetic memory has optimal data access performance and stability across a wide operating temperature range between 127°C and -269°C. This is the first of its kind to pass verification tests and will offer enormous potential for applications such as quantum computers and aerospace.
ITRI will continue to develop forward-looking semiconductor technology and present innovative solutions to address market needs. Under its 2030 Technology Strategy and Roadmap, the Institute seeks to collaborate closer with industry and academia in intelligentisation enabling technologies, which will promote industrial upgrading and cross-sector cooperation and boost new business opportunities.
The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is one of the world’s leading technology R&D institutions aiming to innovate a better future for society. Founded in 1973, ITRI has played a vital role in transforming Taiwan’s industries from labor-intensive into innovation-driven. To address market needs and global trends, it has launched its 2030 Technology Strategy & Roadmap and focuses on innovation development in Smart Living, Quality Health, and Sustainable Environment. It also strives to strengthen Intelligentisation Enabling Technology to support diversified applications.
Over the years, ITRI has been dedicated to incubating startups and spinoffs, including well-known names such as UMC and TSMC. In addition to its headquarters in Taiwan, ITRI has branch offices in the US, Europe, and Japan in an effort to extend its R&D scope and promote international cooperation across the globe.
ITRI and UCLA to Collaborate on World-Leading Memory Technology Development
As chip sizes continue to shrink, high-performance Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM) technology has also become the mainstream. To advance the development of next-generation MRAM, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have jointly signed a Voltage Control Magnetic RAM (VC-MRAM) cooperation project.
With the support from Taiwan’s Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), this collaboration aims to leverage the technical expertise and innovative capacity from both parties to apply material components to memory chips for computing and storage.
According to the DoIT, the MOEA has long invested in the semiconductor industry and has encouraged ITRI in the R&D of Spin-Orbit Torque (SOT) MRAM technology. Based on the achievements, ITRI and UCLA further collaborated on VC-MRAM, which has 50% higher writing speed and 75% less energy consumption than SOT-MRAM and is thereby ideal for AIoT and automotive industry applications.
The partnership is expected to strengthen the link between both parties, accelerate the R&D and industrialisation of new memory technologies, and help companies adopt cutting-edge manufacturing processes at an early stage to enhance their industry competitiveness.