Kingdom-tech, authorized distributor of Fujitsu, Goodix, Quectel, Huada

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Exploring the Advantages and Applications of FRAM Memory Chips

FRAM Memory chips

I. Introduction

FRAM memory chips and their characteristics

FRAM (Ferromagnetic Random Access Memory), ferroelectric random access memory. FRAM was first proposed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It uses the ferroelectric effect of ferroelectric crystals to store data, making its ferroelectric storage products have the characteristics of both random access memory and non-volatile memory. The advantage of FRAM memory is that the data will not be damaged in the case of power loss, and the writing speed is extremely fast, and the number of repeated writing is high, almost unlimited, and can replace EEPROM applications in large quantities; the disadvantage of FRAM memory is that The price is still about 2~3 times higher than that of EEPROM.

FRAM memory, resistive random access memory (RRAM), magnetoelectric random access memory (MRAM), etc. are listed as a new type of memory. Currently, FRAM memory suppliers include Fujitsu Semiconductor, Cypress, Texas Instruments (TI) )wait.

This market belongs to the high-end market, with special applications such as smart meters, transportation stored value cards, medical and health systems such as surveillance devices, endoscopes, respiratory assistance, blood oxygen measurement, portable insulin syringes, etc., and automotive markets such as tires. Pressure detectors, etc., or KIOSKs, gaming machines, etc. Due to the low power consumption of FRAM, it is suitable for the Internet of Things market in the future.

Features of FRAM memory

● Read and write times up to 10 trillion times

● At a temperature up to 55°C, 10-year data storage capacity

● Write data without delay

● Advanced high-reliability ferroelectric storage method

● The connection mode is a high-speed serial interface (SPI) bus mode, and there are two modes of SPI mode 0 and 3

● Bus frequency up to 5MHz

● The hardware can directly replace EEPROM

● With advanced write protection design, including dual protection functions of hardware protection and software protection

● Low power consumption, the standby current is only 10μA

● Adopt single power +5V power supply

● Industrial temperature range: -40°C to +85°C

● 8-pin SOP or DIP package

Why FRAM memory chips are important?

Designers using microcontrollers (MCUs) have come to rely heavily on flash memory for code storage, as IC makers have scaled non-volatile memory manufacturing processes and are producing measurable arrays of flash memory on MCU ICs. Still, flash is far from perfect, and other non-volatile memory types, such as ferroelectric RAM (FRAM), offer advantages over flash, including low-power operation, DRAM-like access per bit, and faster access times . Even though FRAM is more costly and does not match the capacity of flash memory, when low power consumption and high performance are key design considerations, it’s better to consider FRAM technology.

Firstly let’s briefly review how FRAM works. FRAM memory cells are constructed similarly to DRAM cells, using a capacitor and a transistor for each bit. However, FRAM cells require a ferroelectric material that essentially stores polar states and doesn’t require refresh or power to maintain content. Up to now, semiconductor manufacturers have been unable to scale FRAM to the levels achieved by DRAM and flash memory for a number of reasons. Ferroelectric materials are additive materials that can present problems during semiconductor manufacturing. Such materials lose their ferroelectric properties as their size decreases, since smaller cell feature sizes are important for scaling to higher densities.

How FRAM Memory Chips Work?

How FRAM memory chips combine the characteristics of ROM and RAM?

Ferroelectric memory (FRAM) products combine the non-volatile data storage characteristics of ROM with the advantages of unlimited read and write, high-speed read and write, and low power consumption of RAM. FRAM products include various interfaces and multiple densities, such as industry standard serial and parallel interfaces, industry standard package types, and densities such as 4Kbit, 16Kbit, 64Kbit, 256Kbit, 1Mbit, 2Mbit, and 4Mbit.

Data in non-volatile memory will not lose after power failure. But all non-volatile memory is derived from ROM technology. As you can imagine, the data in ROM is impossible to modify. All non-volatile memories developed on that basis are difficult to write, and the writing speed is slow. They include EPROM (now basically eliminated), EEPROM and Flash, which takes a long time to write data. , low erasing and writing times, high power consumption for writing data and other shortcomings.

FRAM provides a performance consistent with RAM, but has the same non-volatility as ROM. FRAM overcomes the shortcomings of the above two types of memory and combines their advantages. It is a newly created product, a non-volatile random access memory.

How they store data even when power is turned off?

FRAM is a memory using a ferroelectric element. Its cell structure and method of storing data are different from other traditional non-volatile storage devices, such as EEPROM and flash memory. Of course, the judgment method of storing data “1” and “0” is also different. EPROM is charged through the data storage area. Or discharge state to judge 1″ or “0” data. FRAM is judged by the electric polarization state caused by the movement of atoms in the molecule.

Crystal structure of PZT

Regarding the FRAM structure, we use PZT (lead zirconate titanate) as the ferroelectric element, and the crystal structure of PZT is shown below.

Zirconium (Zr) or titanium (Ti) cations occupy two stable positions in the crystal lattice and can move between the two positions by applying an external electric field. Up or down polarization can be stored even when the electric field is removed. This means that this “polarized” state is stored by ferroelectric memory utilizing this non-volatile property.

Hysteresis Loop of PZT

The read and write speeds of FRAM memory chips

FRAM a clock frequency of 33 MHz, which allows it to read and write data at high speeds. FRAM memory chips have faster write speeds than traditional non-volatile memories such as flash memory, making them ideal for various applications. Unlike flash memory, FRAM does not require an erase-before-write operation, which eliminates write latency and improves write performance. In addition, FRAM has a high read/write endurance, fast writing speed, low power consumption, and high reliability. For more information on FRAM and ReRAM memory solutions, you can check out Fujitsu Semiconductor Memory Solution.

Applications of FRAM Memory Chips

The various applications of FRAM memory chips

Meters

Electricity meter, water meter, gas meter, flow meter, postage meter.

Cars

Safety airbag, body control system, car radio, constant speed control, car DVD, engine, entertainment equipment, instrument family, power train, safety device, telemetry/navigation system, automatic toll collection system

Communications

Mobile communication transmitter station, data recorder, telephone, radio, telecommunications, portable GPS

Consumer Electronics

Home appliances, set-top boxes, plasma LCD TVs

Computers

Office equipment, radar systems, network attached storage, electronic computer switches.

Electric equipment

Power monitoring equipment, switch cabinets, distribution transformer monitoring terminals, circuit breakers.

Industry, Technology, Medical

Industrial automatic control, elevators, hotel door locks, handheld operating instruments, medical instruments, engine control.

Others

ATMs, cameras, game machines, POS function machines (which can be used to purchase goods and services), vending machines.

FRAM Memory chip application

How they are used in real-world scenarios?

What can we do for a healthy life?

Fujitsu’s FRAM memory chips device products help people around the world have healthier life.

Hearing aids are used by people who are hard of hearing. In addition, for people who have difficulty in sleeping, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device is helping them fall asleep. Fujitsu’s FRAM component products are also widely used in products and devices that support such healthy lives.

FRAM memory chip application

Trusted Manufacturers of FRAM Memory Chips

For this part, you can refer to our another article, TOP5 Brands of Fe-RAM/Re-RAM.

Where to Purchase FRAM Memory Chips?

The Authorized distributors of FRAM memory chips

Here are some authorized distributors of Fujitsu FRAMs, such as Kingdom-tech Electronic, Mouser, Arrow, etc.

How to purchase FRAM memory chips and what to look for when selecting a distributor?

When you select a distributor,  please firstly check if they are Fujitsu authorized. You can log into Fujitsu website to check if the supplier is listed. Secondly, please ask them for the authorization letter which is issued by Fujitsu.

Fujitsu distributor certification

Fujitsu distributor authorization letter

For Kingdom-tech, you can log into the website, https://kdtic.com/ to send inquiry or send email, info@kdtic.com, to them.

For others, please log into their websits and just order on line.

Conclusion

The importance of FRAM memory chips and the various applications

Overall, the FRAM memory chip combines the advantages of both random access memory (RAM) and flash memory. FeRAM is non-volatile, meaning it retains data even when there is no power source, like flash memory. It is also faster than flash memory and uses less power than RAM. FeRAM is used in a variety of applications, including smart cards, mobile phones, and automotive systems. Its ability to store data without power and its fast read/write times make it a valuable technology in many industries.

Encourage further exploration of FRAM memory chips and their potential usages

There is great possibility that there are also many applications that haven’t been discussed or found. If you have ideas about the new potential usage scenarios, please kindly tell us by email, info@kdtic.com.

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