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Development of mass production technology for high density Ferroelectric Random Access Memory

April 15, 2014

Five Fujitsu Semiconductor engineers, who developed ferroelectric memory used in smart card, smart meter, authentication devices, etc, have won the Fiscal 2014 Commendation for Science and Technology Prize (Development Category), which was awarded by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. The award ceremony was held on April 15th, 2014 at the auditorium of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Commendation for Science and Technology by MEXT

The Commendation for Science and Technology is awarded by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) to individuals who have been particularly successful in areas such as research and development and promoting understanding of science and technology. By celebrating successes in these areas, the award is intended to increase the motivation of people involved in science and technology and improve the level of science and technology in Japan.

Development technology

Smart cards and mobile devices, which have gained popularity since the 1990's, have long required memories that store the data even when the power is switched off (non-volatility), operate at low power in high speed, and have high write-erase cycle endurance. Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (FRAM) meets these requirements, but attempts, in both Japan and the United States, to manufacture the memory using the conventional semiconductor process have not been necessarily successful until early 2000's Oxide ferroelectric material used in the FRAMs is reduced by hydrogen gas which is generated during the conventional semiconductor process, and the reaction causes the degradation of the ferroelectricity. The Fujitsu team developed H2-barrier film to prevent the reduction of oxide ferroelectric material. This helped successfully start the mass production of FRAM in 1999. To achieve high density FRAM, they developed new circuit technologies called the Bit Line Ground Sensing (BGS) technique and the Self-Timing Latch (STL) method, which drastically improve the read and sensing margin in their FRAM. The FRAM. they developed has excellent electronic properties in comparison with the conventional FLASH memory. It is 10-million times faster in write/erase, 100-million times more robust in write-read endurance, and 400 times lower in power consumption. Therefore, FRAM has been used not only in smart cards and mobile devices but also in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags equipped with large density memory, authentication devices, and alternate memory for battery back-up Static RAM (SRAM). FRAM is expected to be applied to RFID tags attached to medical equipment which needs sterilization by radioactive irradiation since FRAM has been proven to have a much higher resistance to radioactive irradiation than FLASH memory. Although FRAM has already become a basic memory sustaining Information Technology (IT) for secure social networking, one of the most important challenges for FRAM is “scaling” or to decrease cell area. The team have already developed the next generation FRAM with a cell area that is much smaller than that of current commercialized FRAMs. This technology will drastically reduce FRAM fabrication cost and dramatically enhance FRAM-market growth.

minister

Mr. Hakubun Shimomura, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology giving a celebration massage to the Fiscal 2014 Commendation ceremony for Science, and Technology.

The certificate awarded from the Minister Shimoyama.

The certificate awarded from the Minister Shimoyama.

Award Recipients

Recipients (left to right)
Kazuaki Takai, FRAM Technology Design Dept.,
Toru Takeshima, Director, FRAM Security and Design Solutions Dept.,
Shoichiro Kawashima, Senior Director, System Memory Business Div.,
Wensheng Wang, FRAM Process Engineering Dept.,
Takashi Eshita, Director, Process Technology Div.

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