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Meeting the developers of “MRAM”, the up-and-coming next-generation of memory

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MRAM is a type of memory semiconductor which is as fast as DRAM while being able to maintain data when power is removed, just like the NAND flash. Samsung Electronics’ DS Division, leading the world’s DRAM market since 1992, launched the industry’s first 28nm FD-SOI (Fully Depleted-Silicon on Insulator) process eMRAM (embedded Magnetic Random Access Memory) solutions on March 6.

※ MRAM (Magnetic Random Access Memory): A type of non-volatile memory that uses magnetic domains, characterized by writing speeds around 1,000 times faster than flash memory and low power consumption.

We interviewed the people behind this next-generation memory technology: Just what is MRAM, and what sets MRAM apart from DRAM? Samsung Electronics’ industry-leading memory technology leadership: From DRAM to MRAM We sat down with Kim Chankyung from the Foundry Business Division to discuss Samsung Electronics’ 25-year DRAM dominance and current progress in next-generation MRAM technology. Kim was formerly involved in DRAM memory design, and currently researches next-generation MRAM designs for the Foundry Business Division.
Foundry 사업부 김찬경 님
Foundry 사업부 김찬경 님

Q. Hi. For starters, what is DRAM, and why is it so important? All computer systems comprise two types of memory. DRAM serves as the main memory, while NAND flash is used for storage memory. DRAM is the computer system’s main memory, and is a temporary storage unit. For a CPU to run smoothly, fast and high-capacity DRAM is essential. Under the current Von Neumann computer architecture, DRAM plays a very important role. Q. In what directions has DRAM technology progressed? There have been three major paradigm shifts in the development of DRAM technology. As the high density of DRAM chips became a major competitive factor, there was initially competition to shrink chip size as makers competed to produce higher-density chips. Then, intense competition to improve bandwidth and operating speeds arose. And now in the mobile era, the race is on to achieve high performance with low power requirements. DRAM has met the semiconductor industry’s high-density, ultra-high speed and low power requirements, and has been established as the main memory type of choice. Q. Tell us about next-generation MRAM and its advantages. MRAM is a type of resistive switching RAM, and is different from conventional DRAM in a number of ways. While DRAM is based on currents, MRAM is based on variations in resistance in unit cells called MTJs (Magnetic Tunnel Junctions). While DRAM has made impressive strides in density, bandwidth, and low power consumption, DRAM has to be continually refreshed in order to maintain data. This process consumes standby power. MRAM is able to preserve data for prolonged periods without refreshing, and this advantage is what sets it apart from DRAM. For this reason, MRAM is a key contender for universal memory, which is set to bring about a revolutionary change in classic computer structure. Q. What sort of future do you expect for MRAM technology as a new growth driver? With the rise of new applications such as AI, automotive, and IoT, new memory solutions are required to keep up. Work is ongoing to replace various existing types of memory with single-chip MRAM solutions, taking advantage of the technology’s fast speeds and non-volatility. Through sustained R&D efforts, we expect MRAM to become the memory of choice for a range of new applications.
▲삼성전자 Foundry사업부 Library/eMRAM Group
▲삼성전자 Foundry사업부 Library/eMRAM Group

▲The Library/eMRAM Group at Samsung Electronics’ Foundry Business Division

That concludes our update on MRAM, a strong contender to become the next generation of memory. The passion, enterprising spirit, and pride that our engineers possessed towards MRAM technology was impressive. Here’s to the continued progress and growth of MRAM.
name card of JC kim who is work in Samsung Strategic Marketing team
name card of JC kim who is work in Samsung Strategic Marketing team

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