RUSNANO Portfolio Company Crocus Nano Electronics Launches First Production Line

31 October 2013

Open Innovations, an international forum devoted to emerging technologies and international collaboration, was the backdrop today for launching production of magnetoresistive random-access memory, or MRAM. The company that commissioned the factory line, Crocus Nano Electronics, is a joint venture between RUSNANO and Crocus Technology SA (France).

Taking part in opening ceremonies by satellite link up were Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, RUSNANO CEO Anatoly Chubais,  Crocus Technology VP for Worldwide Operations Jean-Luc Sentis, and Crocus Nano Electronics General Director Boris Omarov.

Magnetoresistive random access memory, or MRAM, combines energy independence with rapid writing/reading speed and a virtually unlimited number of rewrite cycles. It is new generation memory. Crocus Nano Electronics will manufacture products based on Crocus Technology"s Magnetic Logic Unit™ (MLU), a disruptive CMOS-based rugged magnetic technology it is developing with IBM. MLU offers important advantages in high speed, security, and robust performance at lower cost for its broadening portfolio of embedded products and non-volatile memory blocks. The technology may be used in smart cards, network commutators, biometric authenticating devices, near field communications, and secure memory. The market for product applications manufactured by the portfolio company is forecasted to exceed $8 billion in 2014.

The manufacturing facility for the company was built at TECHNOPOLIS Moscow in one of the partnership between RUSNANO and the Government of Moscow. The government is developing a new center for innovative high-tech industry on the site of the former Moskvich automobile factory. Crocus Nano Electronics is the first resident of the future microelectronic cluster.

This first production line was completed just one year after construction began. It will produce the world"s first MRAM with 90-nanometer process technology. At the plant, 200-millimeter and 300-millimeter CMOS foundry wafers will be coated with additional layers to create memory cells. By the end of 2014, the plant will have capacity to turn out 500 wafers per week.

Total investment in the project was more than 200 million euros of which RUSNANO cofinanced 100 million euros.

Technical information

MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) is a digital memory technology that unites the advantages of traditional semiconductor and magnetic technologies DRAM, SRAM, and Flash while avoiding many of their drawbacks.  With MRAM, information is written not with electrical charges but with magnetic polarization of memory elements. That change provides a key characteristic for this type of memory—energy independence, the ability to retain what has been written even if power is lost. MRAM chips combine the low energy consumption, high speed, and nearly infinite capacity for reading-writing cycles of DRAM with the energy self-reliance of Flash

Miniature MRAM chips owe their beginnings to the 1988 discovery of the effect of giant magnetoresistance for which, in 2007, Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. In the mid-1990s several companies simultaneously began intensive MRAM development. Motorola was one, and in 2005 it introduced the first chip. The chip"s capacity was one megabit and features size—180 nanometers. Only Crocus Technology, however, has succeeded in creating working 130-nanometers chips and demonstrated the viability of 90-nanometer magnetoresistive memory using thermal switching.

Thermally Assisted Switching™ was developed and patented by Crocus Technology for manufacturing advanced MRAMs by heating the memory cells.

Additional information

Reference

RUSNANO Joint-Stock Company was founded in March 2011 through reorganization of state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. JSC RUSNANO contributes to implementation of the state policy on the development of the nanotechnology industry by investing directly and through investment funds of nanotechnology in financially effective high-technology projects providing the development of new production facilities in the Russian Federation. Its primary investment focus is in electronics, optoelectronics and telecommunications, healthcare and biotechnology, metallurgy and metalwork, energy, mechanical engineering and instrument making, construction and industrial materials, chemicals and petrochemicals. 100 percent of RUSNANO’s shares are state owned. Thanks to RUSNANO’s investments, there are currently 115 factories and R&D Centers opened in 37 regions in Russia. JSC RUSNANO has profit for the last 5 years.

Management of assets of RUSNANO JSC is carried out by Limited Liability Company established in December 2013, RUSNANO Management Company. Anatoly Chubais is the Chairman of its Executive Board.

Work to establish nanotechnology infrastructure and carry out educational programs is fulfilled by RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, which was also established during the reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.

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Crocus Nano Electronics (CNE) is the joint venture founded in 2011 by Crocus-Technology, Inc., a developer of MRAM technology, and RUSNANO, the Russian government investment fund for nanotechnologies. CNE is building the first advanced magnetic memory fab in the world, capable of high volume manufacturing of advanced MLU devices on 300-mm wafers based on Thermally Assisted Switching™ (TAS) MRAM technology at 90-nm and 65-nm nodes.

For more information, please visit www.crocusnano.com/en