Portfolio Companies

Crocus Technology SA (France) & Crocus Nano Electronics (Russia)

Magnetoresistive Random-access Memory

Operating Factories

Shareholders in Portfolio Company 
RUSNANO, Ventech, IDInvest Partners, NanoDimension, Sofinnova Ventures, CDC Innovation

Industry Sector 
Optics and Electronics

Production Location 
Moscow
Jobs to be created: over 100

Investment Started:  2011

Total Budget

10.56  bln rubles
Co-investment by RUSNANO
3.8  bln rubles

Development and production of MRAM-based solutions

Portfolio company Crocus Nano Electronics, a joint venture between Rusnano and Crocus Technology SA, will use Crocus’s technology to create the world’s first dedicated magnetic memory wafer fab for high-volume manufacturing of MRAM devices on 300-mm wafers with feature sizes of 90 nm and 60 nm. The factory will add MRAMspecific processing layers to standard CMOS foundry wafers.

When the project commissions the factory in 2013, it will have capacity to produce 500 CMOS wafers per week. Expanded capacity of up to 1000 wafers per week is anticipated under a second phase of investment.

Silicon Valley-based Crocus Technology is a leader in Magnetic Logic Unit™ (MLU) MRAM products and technologies for the semiconductor and electronics industries. In October 2011 Crocus Technology signed an agreement with IBM for engineering work and joint licensing of patents. A month later it signed an agreement with Morpho, one of the world’s top four vendors of identification, detection, and e-document solutions, to develop and commercialize collaboratively the first smart card based on Crocus’s technology.

Crocus Technology is not limiting its activities in Russia to production of MRAM. The company has made commitments to invest up to €3 million in Russian research organizations to improve its technologies. It has already signed the first research contract, with Kintech Lab, to develop a programming platform for modeling Crocus’s magnetoresistive memory cells.

Areas of application

  • Security chips based on MLU for smart-cards, electronic IDs, cell phone SIM-cards
  • High-temperature memory for automotive engines, oil-drilling, robotics and other industries
  • Routing and data transmission devices in telecommunications
  • Hardware-based search applications

Market

  • Producers of chips for smart cards and electronic documents, automation devices for industry, and telecommunications equipment

Competitive advantages

  • Non-volatility
  • High-speed read/write performance
  • Unlimited write cycles

MRAM (magnetoresistive random-access memory) is a new type of memory technology which combines traditional semiconductor and advanced magnetic technologies, resulting in memory chips that offer the benefits of well-established semiconductor memories, such as DRAM, SRAM, and Flash, without their key limitations. In contrast to conventional memory chip technologies, MRAM data is not stored as electric charge or voltage, but instead by magnetic polarization of storage elements. Crocus’ MRAM chips offer the high speed read/write performance, unlimited write cycles, and low voltage operation of DRAM and SRAM, along with the non-volatility and low cost of Flash. TASTM (Thermally Assisted Switching) is a patented Crocus innovation for manufacturing advanced MRAMs, that incorporates unique temperature sensitive magnetic materials and structures for providing scalable and stable high-density memory.