Microsemi revealed as Crossbar ReRAM licensee

May 16, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
Microsemi Corp. (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), the mixed-signal, power, RF and FPGA vendor that is being acquired by Microchip Technology Inc., has been named as a chip-level licensee and user of ReRAM non-volatile memory technology from Crossbar Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.).

The two companies have been working together for about a year and Microsemi is targeting a sub-20nm process node, according to Sylvain Dubois, vice president of business development at Crossbar. "ReRAM is going to a 1X-nm process node," Dubois told eeNews Europe confirming that this is a logic process with embedded ReRAM.

Dubois declined to say whether the process was based on FDSOI or FinFET technology and added that the use of X in 1X had been done because giving a more accurate nomenclature would identify the foundry licensee.

Crossbar is already working with Chinese foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (Crossbar ReRAM in production at SMIC). "It's not SMIC," said Dubois. "It's one of the top three," he added suggesting that one or more of TSMC, Globalfoundries and Samsung are preparing to run the non-volatile memory option.

Dubois indicate that Microsemi is running test chips and using the technology in specialized way with a 2019 debut as a target. Dubois would not discuss Microchip's application but clearly embedded non-volatile memory would be an option for use in energy efficient FPGAs.

In addition Dubois is advocating the use of Crossbar ReRAM arrays for the major part of a machine learning fabric that can implement neural networks and be reconfigurable. Dubois is set to speak at the Embedded Vision Summit on Wed., May 23 at 12pm on the topic a 'New memory-centric architecture needed for AI.'

Crossbar's ReRAM technology is based on metal-ion migration and filament formation within amorphous silicon. Silver is used as the material to form conductive filaments that are made and broken to record a 1 or a 0.

Next: Microchip purchase