Development of single-crystal TMR Devices for High-Density MRAM

Shinji Yuasa (Group Leader, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

Research area: Nanostructure and Material Property(2002-2005) SORST(2006) SakigakeSORST
Development of high-performance TMR device using crystalline MgO tunnel barrier
Large capacity of hard disks and realization of MRAM have made a large contribution to the global information society.
Advanced laboratory facilities for the fabrication of MgO-based TMR devices

Research Overview
A tunnel magneto Resistance (TMR) element featuring the world’s highest level of performance has been developed, and its use as a signal pick-up element has accelerated recent trends toward the realization of ultra-high density HDD. The element became available in 2007, and is already accepted as a mainstream HDD technology.
They are also expected to serve as key elements of MRAM, a candidate for high-performance nonvolatile memory, and development is now underway toward practical use within a few years. In the amid fierce race for the development of MRAM among leading manufacturers, this technology have enhanced Japan’s global competitiveness.

Impact of Research Achievements
■ Market expansion through the downsizing, capacity increase and reduced power consumption of electrical devices.
■ Creation of electrical devices with new uses and functions through enhanced functionality that brings change to the basic design of computers.
■ Increased convenience through the use of small electrical / mobile devices, etc.
■ Changes in lifestyle and behavior patterns through the realization of a society with ubiquitous computing
98% of the 530 million units of hard disks shipped globally in 2008 use this technology and size of the global market for parts (magnetic heads) was 722 billion yen.
The size of the global market for MRAM will be about 40 billion yen (estimated value in 2014).