Mar 10, 2021

IBM Research approaches a technology breakthrough

IBM is developing an alternative memory technology that could be low-power, fast, inexpensive, high-endurance, and non-volatile. Technical limitations have constrained this approach, known as Spin Transfer Torque (STT) MRAM, to applications such as ultra-dependable solid-state drive buffers. IBM Research has been investigating a more advanced version of STT-MRAM that might enjoy significantly broader adoption. The company has labored over two decades to develop this technology, and believes it is closing in on the remaining limitations that have relegated MRAM to niche applications.

Figure 1: Memory technologies span from on-die SRAM to NAND storage. The industry seeks a memory technology that could combine speed, density, and non-volatility. Source: Everspin Technologies

This report examines the potential STT-MRAM may hold. While clearing the final hurdles will be challenging, IBM believes it is time to anticipate and prepare for the next era in memory technology.

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Table Of Contents

Summary..                                                                             1

Spin-Transfer-Torque (STT) MRAM: Memory’s Holy Grail?. 2

The Promise of STT-MRAM..                                                2

MRAM Applications.                                                              2

The Concept of STT-MRAM..                                                3

The Challenges of STT-MRAM                                             4

Conclusions                                                                           5

Important Information About This Paper                               6