GlobalFoundries announced that it has partnered with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the National Research Foundation to develop resistive random access memory (ReRAM). This next-generation storage technology will pave the way for fast, non-volatile, high-volume embedded caching. The project will take four years and cost S$120 million (US$88 million).
Currently, GlobalFoundries (and other semiconductor contract manufacturers) use eFlash (Embedded Flash) for chips that require high-capacity on-board storage. When using technology below 20nm to make chips, the technology has many limitations, such as durability and performance, which is the main reason globalFoundries and other chip makers are looking to replace eFlash with magnetically resisted RAM (MRAM) in future designs. Because it is considered the most durable non-volatile storage technology available today using modern chip processes.
MRAM relies on reading the magnetic anisotropic (direction) of two ferromagnetic membranes separated by the thin force, so there is no need to erase the cycle before writing data, which makes it much faster than eFlash. In addition, the write process requires a considerable amount of energy. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE DENSITY OF MRAM IS RELATIVELY LOW, AND ITS MAGNETIC ANISOTROPY DECREASES AT LOW TEMPERATURES, BUT IS STILL VERY PROMISING FOR MOST USE CASES THAT DO NOT INVOLVE LOW TEMPERATURE.
This allowed researchers to further develop ReRAM, which relies on current to change the resistance on dielectric materials (from “0” to “1” or otherwise). The technology also does not require erasure cycles, has high durability, and can operate over a wide temperature range, assuming the right material is used. At the same time, even when using “thin” modern manufacturing processes (such as GF’s 12LP or 12FDX) to produce storage units, alloys for ReRAM should generally be very stable to withstand millions of switches and retain data. Finding suitable materials for ReRAM will be the subject of NTU research, and if successful, GlobalFoundries will mass produce the new memory.