MRAM startup makes progress as rival closes

September 16, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
MRAM startup makes progress as another closes
MRAM developer Antaios SA (Grenoble, France) has taped out a test chip for its spin-orbit torque magnetic random access memory (SOT-MRAM) technology while another – Spin Memory Inc. – is being wound up.

SOT-MRAM is an advanced and potentially disruptive form of MRAM that could displace the previous generation of spin-torque transfer (STT) MRAM in embedded applications where MRAM offer scalability advantages over flash memory and potential power-saving and low-voltage operation benefits over SRAM.

Antaios and Spin Memory have both been backed by Applied Materials (see MRAM startup Antaois raises $11 million and ARM, Applied send more money to Spin Memory ).

Antaios has told eeNews Europe that it is working with Applied Materials and a tier-one foundry and is producing its test chip on a 28nm/22nm manufacturing process. The test chip is currently in the wafer fab. Antaios did not reveal the identity of the foundry but reference to a 22nm process may indicate an involvement with Globalfoundries in Dresden.

Antaios' businesss model is to license its technology to foundries and fabless chip companies including the core technology, memory IP blocks and memory compiler tools.

Antaios said in email communication that over the last two years it has been refining its cell architecture and baseline materials and seeking to demonstrate retention and endurance characteristics to enable design wins as non-volatile cache memory close to logic.

By enabling simultaneously high operating speed and infinite read/write endurance, SOT has the potential to replace both embedded non-volatile memory and SRAM cache in microcontrollers, microprocessors and system-on-chip designs.

If SOT-MRAM could be used to replace SRAM in registers, flip-flops, scratch-pad memories very close to and within the logic circuits it could have a major impact on how processors are designed to operate. MRAM already has the advantage of non-volatility and density over SRAM memory cells, which typically use six transistors for implementation, but it needs to demonstrate exceptional endurance cycling to be applicable in logic.

Antaios was founded in 2017 by Jean-Pierre Nozières, CEO. Antaios follows on from Nozières' previous company eVaderis, which worked on Spin Transfer Torque (STT) MRAM (see MRAM startup eVaderis closes, here

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