Israel-based Weebit Nano and US-based SkyWater Technology have announced the availability of Weebit's resistive RAM (ReRAM) IP in SkyWater's 130nm CMOS (S130) process. SkyWater customers can now easily integrate Weebit's non-volatile memory (NVM) in their system-on-chip (SoC) designs.
Incorporated in 2015, Weebit has been focusing on Resistive RAM technology - deemed as the successor to flash memory - and entered into an agreement with SkyWater in 2021 to bring its technology to volume production. SkyWater is a Category 1A Trusted Foundry accredited by the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) under the US Department of Defense.
Weebit believes that the ReRAM IP enables semiconductor designs to be faster, lower cost, more reliable and more energy efficient than those using flash or other emerging NVMs such as MRAM. The company also indicates that its ReRAM technology is able to retain data for up to 20 years at 175 degrees Celsius, and withstand 350x more ionizing radiation than flash. In comparison, production designed with flash require extra design for redundancy or shielding. ReRAM is expected to see applications in analog/mixed-signal, IoT, automotive, aerospace and defense, and heterogenous computing.
Scaling to 90nm and carbon nanotube platforms
SkyWater's 130nm technology node is a dual-gate technology with 1.8V and 3.3V/5.0V devices. The technology supports up to five aluminum metal layers and is mixedsignal enabled with native, extended drain, NPN and PNP BJTs, inductors, MIMs, etc. The technology offers a variety of thresholds to optimize for power and performance.
According to Weebit, the ReRAM module in S130 includes a 256Kb ReRAM array, control logic, decoders, IOs (Input/Output communication elements) and error correcting code (ECC). Its scalable, modular design enables customization according to a customer's specific design requirements (e.g., memory density, word size, system interface). The module is also designed with unique patent-pending analog and digital smart circuitry running smart algorithms that significantly enhance the memory array's technical parameters.
Demo chips produced by SkyWater integrating Weebit's ReRAM module were recently received from manufacturing and proven fully functional. These chips are currently under qualification, and are being used for customer demonstrations, testing and prototyping. Full qualification of the ReRAM memory module in SkyWater's U.S. production fab is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.
"ReRAM is no longer the technology of the future – it is here now," said Coby Hanoch, CEO of Weebit Nano. "Our valuable partnership with SkyWater has enabled us to bring this first Weebit ReRAM product to market." According to SkyWater, Weebit's ReRAM Technology can be scaled to a number of other technologies like SkyWater's 90nm and carbon nanotube platforms. Its use of fab-friendly materials allows the technology to be quickly integrated with existing flows and processes, without the need for special equipment and large investments.
Partnership with academia continues to explore high-radiation applications
Meanwhile, Weebit is partnering with the Nino Research Group (NRG) in the University of Florida's Department of Materials Science and Engineering to study the effects of radiation on Weebit's ReRAM technology. Results of initial studies show that Weebit ReRAM maintains data integrity and memory functionality after being subjected to doses of gamma irradiation exceeding the most demanding requirements. The group will next measure performance of the Weebit ReRAM module under a mixed radiation environment in real-time at the University of Florida Training Reactor.
"There is growing interest in our ReRAM for applications in high-radiation environments, including aerospace and medical. Industry studies have shown ReRAM technology is inherently tolerant to the radiation that semiconductor chips encounter in those settings," Hanoch noted. "We know ReRAM technology to be relatively insensitive to ionizing radiation, single event effect damage, and displacement damage given there is no direct interaction between radiation and the storage mechanism of the technology, " according to Dr. Juan C. Nino, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Florida and the founder of NRG.