June 1, 2002
Jimmy (Jian-Gang) Zhu, Professor of ECE, Youfeng Zheng (an ECE Ph.D. graduate who was advised by Zhu), and Gary A. Prinz of the Naval Research Laboratory, were issued a patent for "A Magnetic Device and Method for Forming Same: Vertical Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (VMRAM)." Their new memory design has substantially improved robust performance in comparison with current MRAM designs and is capable of achieving a very high area storage density, permitting a tera bits (1012 bits) on a 2 cm X 2 cm chip surface area, or 1 tera bits on a single chip.
MRAM is new type of solid state memory device on the horizon of commercialization, but the complex magnetic behavior in its memory elements has previously limited the storage capacity of a memory chip. The new patent addressees this issue. Fast, dense, and nonvolatile, MRAM is described in the patent application as "a 'dream' universal memory" with the potential to take over all other types of solid state memories, such as SRAM, DRAM, and FLASH. Adding the instant on feature to laptops and desktop computers, it will curtail wait for the boot up process and has peaked the interest of Motorola, IBM, and Infenion.
Headshot of Jimmy Zhu