MRAM Technology

There are big plans for MRAM. Beyond IoT and automotive chips, IC manufacturers are planning on integrating MRAM into other mobile applications. The high read/write speeds and non-volatility provide significant advantages. Logic circuits can access the memory quicker, resulting in an extended battery life.

Person holding futuristic device
Memory cells

MRAM Process

MRAM manufacturing requires the control of deposition, annealing, magnetization and etch of very thin ferromagnetic layers. These memory cells are embedded into the logic chip when the chip is getting close to completion. At this late stage, the value of the chip is high so the MRAM cell must be carefully controlled to maintain high yield.

MRAM Process Flow and Control

Magnetic Tunnel Junction (MTJ)

MRAM Process Flow


Current In-Plane Tunneling (CIPT) is a 12-point probe electrical technique that measures resistance versus magnetic fields

CIPT provides important properties of the free layers after deposition, annealing and magnetization

This technique is considered the standard for inline MRAM monitoring



Magneto-Optical Kerr Effect (MOKE) detects subtle changes in the free and pinned layers in the stack

The contactless measurement uses a strong magnetic field to determine polarization state changes

Optical technique with no special targets required allows measurement before and after etch

MicroSense PKMRAM

Film Thickness

Spectroscopic ellipsometry technology provides valuable film thickness information

High accuracy for individual metallic layer thickness measurements in the MTJ stack is required

Understanding the film thickness of thin layers is critical to control the MRAM device performance

KLA SpectraFilm?


Optical scatterometry (SCD) measurement determines the shape of the individual cells after etch

On device measurement provides the most relevant structural information

The shape of the MRAM structure determines the final electrical properties of the MRAM cells

KLA SpectraShape?

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