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Developing a New Type of Magnetic RAM to Boost AI, Self-Driving Cars in Taiwan

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The Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) under the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) is a consolidation of the National Chip Implementation Center (CIC) and National Nano Device Laboratories (NDL).

Recently, TSRI has developed a new version of Spin Orbit Torque Magnetic Random-Access Memory (SOT-MRAM), which is expected to further the development of Artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving cars. semiconductor chips are in high demand in AI, wearable computers, and the Internet of Things sector.

Magnetic random-access memory (MRAM) boasts the advantages of both flash memory for being non-volatile and dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) for being quick to operate, so MRAM is expected to become the mainstream of the next generation of memory.

– Kuang-Chong Wu Head of NARLabs

SOT-MRAM is faster, more durable, and energy-saving than Spin Transfer Torque Magnetic Memory (STT-MRAM), a mature technology manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. The development of SOT-MRAM has a high technical threshold as the TSRI team created a stacked structure of more than 30 atomic-level thin films and reduced the size by introducing vertical anisotropy.

SOT-MRAM’s nanosecond-level high-speed calculation and small size can be used as embedded components in the future, exceeding the current limitations of transistors and paving the way for advances in the development of AI and self-driving cars. SOT-MRAM is still in the initial stage of academic innovation and there are still challenges that need to be overcome before it can reach the practical application stage.

TSRI is the world’s second organisation to have developed SOT-MRAM with vertical anisotropy. The TSRI is positioned as a service provider of Taiwanese industry, academic, and research sectors specialising in semiconductor research.

The institute provides the only open laboratory research environment in Taiwan that is fully equipped with technologies for device manufacturing, circuit design, and system integration and employs a team of experts in life sciences, optics, electronics, machinery, circuit design, or system engineering who collaborate through various means to achieve multidisciplinary research outcomes and develop multidisciplinary techniques.

The TSRI continues to engage in the following actions with the goal of becoming a world-class research centre:

  • Create an open research environment integrated with world-class semiconductor facilities for use by industry, academic, and research sectors to conduct advanced research and enhance the capacity of Taiwanese academic and research institutes in integrated device research, thereby establishing global academic prestige.
  • Foster professional development through academic research collaboration.
  • Make use of the NARLabs’ R&D platform to collaborate with or commission industry, academic, and research teams for the development of industry-related technologies and promotion of technology transfer or patent licensing.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan has long been a crucial partner in the global supply chain of semiconductor design and fabrication, typically assembling products for other companies to sell under their own brand. But alongside this industry are a host of homegrown Taiwanese companies manufacturing and marketing their own products globally.

Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute stated that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystem of companies is the reason to remain at the cutting-edge of ICT innovation in such a hyper-competitive industry.

Taiwanese tech companies tend to form clusters around various industry subsegments, allowing them to collaborate and rapidly explore possibilities. They find ways to improve on existing technologies and refine manufacturing efficiencies, allowing them to become globally competitive thanks to the speed of iterative innovation.

Yet this ecosystem relies on its people, and Taiwan’s affinity for manufacturing and entrepreneurism is also essential. In Taiwan’s culture, everyone has a motivation to be in control of their own destiny. They also enjoy improving manufacturing processes, not only for ICT but other areas This spirit is a unique aspect of Taiwan that has made the ICT industry as successful as it is today.


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