September 14, 2009
Boston, Massachusetts — Spin Transfer Technologies is proud to announce a recent breakthrough in spin transfer MRAM development, in its sponsored research at New York University. Spin transfer MRAM, a new form of non-volatile computer memory, has seen much development attention by major memory manufacturers. Researchers in the Physics Department at New York University, working with engineering support from Spin Transfer Technologies, have demonstrated magnetic vector switching for current pulses as short as 100 picoseconds. This is among the shortest write times reported by developers of MRAM devices, and positions the technology as a potential replacement for SRAM and DRAM. Results were presented at the recent SPIE Optics+Photonics Conference in San Diego, by NYU Physics Professor Andrew Kent.
The underlying technology is based on a unique orthogonal orientation between the magnetic vectors in two magnetic layers—a pinned magnetic layer where the magnetic orientation is fixed and a free magnetic layer where the magnetic field is aligned in one of two directions, thereby storing one bit of binary information (Figure 1). In contrast, all other MRAM efforts involve magnetic vectors that are both parallel to the physical layers or both perpendicular to the layers (Figure 2). Termed Orthogonal Spin Transfer MRAM (OST-MRAM), the technology results in a deterministic switching behavior, which enables high speed and very low power device operation. Other approaches result in stochastic switching which involves thermal fluctuations to initiate or hasten the switching process, leading to an incubation delay and requiring higher power for operation.
In addition, the OST-MRAM technology allows the use of magnetic tunnel junctions to achieve large read-out signals, while maintaining the advantages of deterministic switching and low power operation. Another key aspect of the technology is that it does not require sophisticated processes, such as magnetic annealing, for the fabrication of devices. This will significantly lower the cost of future commercial devices based on OST-MRAM technology, compared to other MRAM devices currently in development.
“We are very excited by our team’s accomplishments,” says Vincent Chun, executive in charge at Spin Transfer Technologies. “The fast write speed, along with non-volatile data retention, low power operation, and the potential for low fabrication costs and scalability, makes OST-MRAM a strong contender for eventual use as universal memory, replacing the major forms of computer memory in use today. A large part of the computer memory market, at $60 billion by 2011, can potentially be addressed by this technology.”
The technical details were recently published in the SPIE conference proceedings. Spin Transfer Technologies is actively pursuing collaborative commercialization projects with industry partners.
About Spin Transfer Technologies, LLC
Allied Minds and New York University have teamed to establish Spin Transfer Technologies, LLC (STT) to develop and commercialize its spin transfer magnetoresistive random access memory technology, OST-MRAM. The technology was originally developed from the nanomagnetism research conducted in the laboratory of Professor Andrew Kent. His research into spin transfer induced reversal of magnetization orientation showed that switching magnetic orientations can be accomplished much faster than in conventional spin transfer approaches. This discovery has enormous implications for the development of spin transfer MRAM devices, including faster switching times, lower power operation and scalability to smaller dimensions.www.spintransfer.com.
About Allied Minds, Inc.
Allied Minds, Inc. is the premier seed organization for early-stage technology. The company focuses on converting academic discoveries into commercial reality by working exclusively with a network of U.S. universities and national labs. By filling the gap between government grants and traditional venture capitalists, Allied Minds focuses on funding innovations with significant transformative potential. Instead of managing funds, the company fosters early-stage companies through to success, generating value for all stakeholders. Website: www.alliedminds.com.