MRAM, once one of the most promising candidates to replace flash memory, may get a boost through a joint research and development program announced today by IBM and TDK. The two companies said they will be working towards a much more compact memory cell that will allow the technology to achieve greater storage densities.
A relatively small storage density has been the most significant drawback of MRAM (magneto-resistive RAM), which has caused several interested parties to refocus their interest into a potential flash successor to other technologies such as phase change memory. IBM and TDK now believe that using the spin momentum transfer effect will enable the creation of more compact MRAM cells, resulting in greater storage density and greater storage capacity of a MRAM device.
Freescale was first to put MRAM into mass production in July of 2006. The chip is currently available with a capacity of 4 Mb.
MRAM is expected to be used in automotive, cellphone, handheld computing, and industrial controls applications.