Ferroelectric memory startup aims to be “The ARM of memories”

July 11, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
After completing its first financing round of €4.6 million, Dresden-based startup The Ferroelectric Memory Company (FMC) has big plans: With its technology of fast, cost-effective non-volatile data memories, CEO and co-founder Stefan Müller intends to serve the rapidly growing market for embedded memory in particular.

Based on patents of the defunct memory manufacturer Qimonda, FMC has developed a technology for the design of very fast and non-volatile memories up to (almost) series production readiness. The company's ferroelectric FETs (FeFETs) use techniques and materials that are well established and largely mastered in the semiconductor industry, Müller said. In addition, these memory devices make it much easier to reduce the size of semiconductor structures than technologies available on the market, such as embedded flash or EEPROM. "We can convert any CMOS or FDSOI transistor into a non-volatile memory cell," said Müller.

As early as 2012, FMC and its research partner Globalfoundries demonstrated the economic feasibility of FeFET production. Now the technology is approaching production maturity, and FMC is thinking about which markets they want to serve. Because of its specific technological requirements, its sheer size of $40 billion and its strong annual growth of 17%, the FMC team has considered the microcontroller market. Not only are there the best growth prospects here, but also the lowest market entry threshold, said Müller. With increasing digitalization, there are many application fields - from medical technology, cars and the manufacturing industry to consumer electronics and the Internet of Things. Müller said that the technology is also suitable for use in harsh environments such as automobiles. "I don't see the risk of interference from electromagnetic fields." In a more distant future, the FeFET technology could even be used for microprocessor cache memories, today a domain of SRAM technology.

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