News Column

Patent Issued for Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory

July 16, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- A patent by the inventor Annunziata, Anthony J. (Stamford, CT), filed on November 5, 2012, was published online on July 1, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8767448 is assigned to International Business Machines Corporation (Armonk, NY).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Embodiments of the invention relate generally to magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) and, more specifically to thermally-assisted MRAM having cavities adjacent to tunnel junctions.

"Magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) is a non-volatile computer memory (NVRAM) technology. Unlike conventional RAM chip technologies, MRAM data is not stored as electric charge or current flows, but by magnetic storage elements. The elements are formed from two ferromagnetic plates, each of which can hold a magnetic field, separated by a thin insulating layer. One of the two plates is a reference magnet set to a particular polarity; the other plate's field can be changed to match that of an external field to store memory and is termed the 'free magnet' or 'free-layer'. The free magnet may also be referred to as a bit, and it may store a '1' or a '0' value. This configuration is known as a magnetic tunnel junction and is the simplest structure for a MRAM bit. A memory device is built from a grid of such 'cells.'

"One type of MRAM, called thermal MRAM, is configured to have heat applied to the tunnel junction when writing to a bit of the tunnel junction. In particular, the free magnet tends to be stable at a normal operating temperature, and it is more difficult to change magnetic polarity of the free magnet at a normal operating temperature. Providing heat to the free magnet may facilitate changing of a polarity of the free magnet to program a magnetic state of the free magnet. However, heat generated by the current flowing through the tunnel junction may be lost in surrounding insulating or dielectric layers, requiring an increase in current to generate a desired amount of heat in the tunnel junction."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "According to one embodiment, a magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) apparatus includes a first conductive line and a second conductive line. A magnetic tunnel junction is in electrical communication with the first conductive line and the second conductive line. The magnetic tunnel junction includes at least one programmable magnetic layer. The MRAM apparatus also includes an insulating layer radially surrounding the tunnel junction, and the insulating layer has a cavity adjacent to the magnetic tunnel junction.

"According to one embodiment, a memory device includes a magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) array and a processing circuit. The MRAM array includes a plurality of MRAM cells. Each MRAM cell includes a first conductive line and a second conductive line. A magnetic tunnel junction is in electrical communication with the first conductive line and the second conductive line. The tunnel junction includes at least one programmable magnetic layer. The MRAM apparatus also includes an insulating layer radially surrounding the tunnel junction, and the insulating layer has a cavity adjacent to the magnetic tunnel junction. The processing circuit is configured to control a current supplied to the MRAM array to read and write data from and to the MRAM cells of the MRAM array.

"According to another embodiment, a method of forming a magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) apparatus includes forming a first conductive line on a first insulating layer and forming a second insulating layer on the first conductive line. The method further includes forming a magnetic tunnel junction through the second insulating layer to contact the first conductive line and forming a cavity adjacent to the magnetic tunnel junction in the second insulating layer. The method further includes forming a second conductive line on the second insulating layer to contact the magnetic tunnel junction.

"Additional features and advantages are realized through the techniques of the present invention. Other embodiments and aspects of the invention are described in detail. For a better understanding of embodiments of the invention, refer to the description and to the drawings."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Annunziata, Anthony J.. Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory. U.S. Patent Number 8767448, filed November 5, 2012, and published online on July 1, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8767448.PN.&OS=PN/8767448RS=PN/8767448

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Random Access Memory, Electrical Communication, International Business Machines Corporation.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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