Hynix signed another deal, this time with Grandis to jointly develop spin-torque RAM. Unlike the current MRAM products marketed by Freescale, STT-RAM uses the angular momentum derived from the spin of the electrical current to alter the magnetic orientation of a free layer. By having the current directly pass through the magnetic tunnel unction, the fields required to switch a bit can be scaled down as process geometries shrink.
This is the third in a string of technology deals starting last October with Ovonyx on phase change memory and with Nanosys on nanocrystal memory. Hynix has traditionally been a technology follower, mimicking Samsung’s advances on the technology front. However, as conventional DRAM and flash memories encounter scaling challenges alternative approaches may be required. STT-RAM is one of them.