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Is US-Japan Semiconductor Alliance in Fear of Korea?
Next-gen Memory
Is US-Japan Semiconductor Alliance in Fear of Korea?
  • By matthew
  • November 25, 2013, 06:01
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64 Mbit Spin-torque MRAM.
64 Mbit Spin-torque MRAM.


The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported on November 24 that 20 American and Japanese semiconductor-related companies have decided to develop a technology to mass-produce next-generation memory that can vastly improve the function of mobile devices such as smartphones. 

The newspaper said that the partnership was initiated by globally-competitive Japanese materials and equipment companies and the US firm in order to take the initiative in the development of the next-gen memory. 

The participants include the world’s third-largest manufacturer of IC and FPD production equipment Tokyo Electron, the world’s largest supplier of semiconductor materials Shin-Etsu Chemical, the world’s number one supplier of flash microcontrollers Renesas Electronics, and Hitachi, together with US–based Micron Technology.

The memory in question refers to magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM), a method of storing data bits using magnetic charges, which reduces the power consumption of electronic devices by 2/3. In addition, MRAM has 10 times as high storage density as conventional DRAM used for computers and smartphones, thus enabling electronic devices to function faster. Data in MRAM is not deleted when electronic devices are switched off, and MRAM-equipped smartphones can be used for hundreds of hours with an average fully-charged battery.

The US and Japanese coalition plans to start early next year and complete the development of MRAM technology by 2016. Micron Technology is scheduled to start the mass production of MRAM as early as 2018.

Currently, MRAM is also being co-developed by Toshiba and SK Hynix, while Samsung is conducting its research.