Hynix Semiconductor and Toshiba Corp., two leading semiconductor manufacturers, on Wednesday announced that they have agreed to strategic collaboration in the development of spin-transfer torque magnetoresistance random access memory (MRAM), a next generation memory device. Once technology development is completed, the companies plan to form MRAM production joint venture.
Toshiba recognizes MRAM as an important next-generation memory technology with the potential to sustain future growth in its semiconductor business. Hynix has advanced memory technologies, most notably in manufacturing process optimization and cost competitiveness. The collaboration announced today, between two of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers in a promising new technology, is expected to make a significant contribution to the continued progress of the world semiconductor industry.
"MRAM is a rare gem full of exciting properties, like ultra high-speed, low power consumption, and high capacity, and it will play the role of key factor in driving advances in memories. It will also be a perfect fit for growing consumer demand in more sophisticated smart phones. MRAM is our next growth platform," said Oh Chul Kwon, chief executive officer of Hynix.
MRAM developed by Toshiba and IBM
A number of exceptional features have earned MRAM the status of promising future memory technology. A non-volatile memory, it is also power efficient and operates at ultra-high speed. Applications requiring high-density memory are expected to take advantages of MRAM, and major initial applications are expected in the mobile market, which notably demands low power consumption.
"We believe that MRAM has huge potential as highly scalable non-volatile RAM. We will strongly promote initiatives in integration of storage solutions including MRAM, NAND, and HDD. The MRAM joint development program with Hynix is one of the key steps to support our efforts," said Kiyoshi Kobayashi, president and chief executive officer of Toshiba's semiconductor and storage products company.
Developing a new technology is always prone to risk. One reason for merging the necessary resources and expertise from Hynix and Toshiba is to minimize risk and to accelerate the pace of MRAM commercialization.
MRAM is a next-generation memory solution that uses magnetic properties to store data. Unlike DRAM, which distinguishes between 0 and 1 by passing an electron through a capacitor, data in MRAM can be determined by measuring the difference in resistance from magnetization on a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ). Data is written and saved by reorienting the magnetization of a thin magnetic layer in a tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) element using a spin-polarized current.