(Keynote) Status and Challenges in Spin-Transfer Torque MRAM Technology

Thursday, October 15, 2015: 08:00
Curtis B (Hyatt Regency)
M. Krounbi, V. Nikitin, D. Apalkov, J. Lee, X. Tang, R. Beach, D. Erickson (Samsung), and E. Chen (Samsung)
Spin-transfer torque magnetic random access memory (STT-MRAM) has been considered as a promising candidate for next generation non-volatile memory due to a combination of fast speed, high endurance, excellent scalability, and ease of integration with the standard CMOS processes. While feasibility demonstrations used magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) devices with an in-plane magnetization, significant advances in materials allowed implementation of the perpendicular MTJ design, which provides the best long-term scalability for STT-MRAM beyond 20 nm. Despite significant progress, there are many remaining hurdles in the productization of STT-MRAM. They are stemming from a set of requirements imposed on the MTJ performance: simultaneously low writing current/voltage and high thermal stability, high magneto-resistance at low RA (resistance and area product) value, low error rates and high endurance cycles. We will discuss the inter-dependencies of these parameters, and show how they are affected by varying magnetic properties of the MTJ stack layers. In particular, we study impact of the free layer anisotropy, magnetic moment, thickness, and Gilbert damping on writing current and thermal stability. In this presentation, we report our progress in meeting these requirements and our development approaches for future challenges.


Mohamad Krounbi has over 25 years of experience in magnetic recording technology and recording head process and design innovations. While at IBM from 1978 to 1997, he played a leading role in the development and production of the magneto resistive heads from MR to GMR and TMR generations of products. Mohamad contributed to major breakthroughs in design, process, and integration of heads and media in the HDD industry. He held executive positions at IBM, Western Digital, and Hitachi Global Storage Technology (HGST). Mohamad holds over 50 US patents and co-authored numerous scientific publications in magnetic recording and fundamental materials and polymer research. He received numerous outstanding innovation and contribution awards while at IBM and was elected to the IBM academy of technology in 1995.  At HGST he was awarded the President’s technology award for the development and launch of the first perpendicular magnetic recording product.  In 2010, Mohamad joined Grandis, Inc. as the CTO and Senior Vice President of  technology development and operations.  Mohamad is currently the CTO and Senior Vice President of Samsung’s New Memory Technology Laboratory in the US ( NMT Lab).  Mohamad has a BS in Physics from Hagazian College in Beirut Lebanon and a MS in Physics from San Jose State University.