Test solution accelerates new memory development

18th September 2017
Posted By : Mick Elliott
Test solution accelerates new memory development

A solution to characterise magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) for spin transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory (STT-MRAM) has been announced by Keysight Technologies. It overcomes the challenges of conventional rack and stack base test environments. The NX5730A High-Throughput 1ns Pulsed IV Memory is a dedicated solution for researchers and engineers struggling with the characterisation of MTJ devices on silicon wafers.

STT-MRAM is getting a lot of attention as the preferred, next-generation high-performance non-volatile memory—such as the memory used in mobile and storage devices.

MTJ is the most important component of STT-MRAM, with fast and accurate characterisation of MTJ being key success factor for achieving a company’s time-to-market goals.

The NX5730A enables users to apply accurate and high-speed pulsed voltages (down to 1ns pulse width) to switch MTJ, and to precisely and quickly measure the resistance of MTJ before and after switching.

In addition to resistance measurement, the NX5730A allows engineers to capture and visualise MTJ switching waveforms clearly during the writing pulse, even if the pulse width is very narrow (down to 1ns pulse).

It allows users to accurately and quickly perform all typical MTJ characterisation tests in one solution. This includes BERTs, endurance tests, switching characteristics with various voltages and the width of writing pulses, switching time evaluation by visualising switching waveforms, and DC tests (e.g., resistance-voltage characteristics).

Keysight also provides customisation support to control electromagnet equipment for characterisation with magnetic fields.

“Keysight’s new NX5730A stems from a collaboration with Tohoku University’s Center for Innovative Integrated Electronic Systems (CIES) STT-MRAM activities which resulted in a successful outcome as announced in March of 2015,” said Masaki Yamamoto, general manager of Keysight’s Wafer Test Solutions. “Our customer experiences several challenges in MTJ characterisation with conventional rack and stack-base test environments, such as a time-consuming BERT, inaccurate writing voltage and difficulty of high-speed pulsed IV, such as 1 ns pulse widths. The NX5730A is in direct response to our customers’ needs for MTJ characterisation, and the NX5730A is already used in multiple memory research facilities, including CIES. Moreover, Keysight continually develops its advance technology under CIES and Keysight collaboration.”

The NX5730A enables accurate characterisation through 1) system-level adjustment with dedicated system design, and 2) Keysight’s expertise in RF measurement and system integration.

It performed approximately 10 to 100 times faster BERTs through faster measurements and optimised system controls. The software allows customers to execute all typical MTJ tests only with a few steps. The NX5730A is designed to combine with a semi-automated prober to full-automated prober—making it ideal for STT-MRAM research to early production.

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