Applied Materials enables emerging memories for IoT, AI & cloud

July 10, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Applied Materials enables emerging memories for IoT, AI & cloud
Applied Materials Inc. has announced the creation of a series of phase vapor deposition (PVD) machines to specifically support the manufacture of magnetic RAM, Resistive RAM and phase-change memory.

These manufacturing solutions, under the Endura brand, are aimed at accelerating the adoption of these memories in the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing. These allow novel materials - the key to these new memories - to be deposited with atomic-level precision.

MRAM for IoT
MRAM is the leading candidate for embedded applications in the Internet of Things. Deployed at the edge these nodes may combine sensors, local processing and communications and non-volatility is key to low power consumption. MRAM is favoured for storing IoT device software and AI algorithms.

MRAM incorporates delicate magnetic materials commonly found in hard disk drives but which need to be incorporated in conventional semiconductor manufacturing flows. MRAM may eventually be used as an alternative to SRAM in level 3 cache memory or even closer to logic and has the advantage that is can be built in the back-end interconnect layers of a chip sitting above logic, thereby enabling smaller die sizes and lower costs.

However, MRAM memories require precise deposition of at least 30 different layers of material. The Endura Clover MRAM PVD platform includes on-board metrology that measures and monitors thickness of the MRAM layers with sub-angstrom sensitivity. Applied claims it is the industry’s first 300mm wafer capable MRAM system for high-volume manufacturing capable of individually depositing up to five different materials per chamber. It has nine separate chambers.

Next: ReRAM, PCRAM in the cloud
As data generation grows exponentially, cloud data centers require order-of-magnitude improvements in the speed and power consumption ReRAM and phase-change RAM (PCRAM) are non-volatile high-density memories that can be used as storage class memory.

Resistive RAM use novel materials – often metal oxides – to create filamentary connections while PCRAM uses chalcogenide materials in memory cells that can be moved from amorphous to crystalline with a change in resistance. As with 3D NAND memories there is scope to arrange memory in multiple stacked planes and cells can

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