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Santa Clara, California
|Products||General purpose and specialty memory chips and technology|
Crocus Technology, founded in 2006, is a venture-capital-backed semiconductor startup company developing magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM) technology. The company's products originated in a Grenoble-based Spintec laboratory and its technology is licensed for stand-alone and embedded chip applications.
Crocus Technology was founded in Grenoble in 2006, based on research at the Spintec laboratory. The company eventually moved its headquarters to Santa Clara, California, but retained its engineering base in Grenoble. In 2011, the company opened an office in Gardanne to develop and support secure products.
Products and technologies
Crocus Technology supplies semiconductor memory devices. The company is also a licensor of magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM) process and design technology to fabless semiconductor companies, wafer foundries, and integrated device manufacturers. Target applications include storage, telecommunications, mobile devices, and computer networking.
Crocus introduced the application of Thermal Assisted Switching (TAS) to MRAM technology. The technology addresses the problems of write selectivity, power consumption and thermal stability that other MRAM products face. TAS solves those problems mainly through temperature manipulation of the magnetic susceptibility in the memory cell. The company is working to merge TAS technology with Spin Torque Transfer technology for use with smaller feature-size semiconductor processes.
In intellectual property, the company possesses approximately 30 patents supporting its products. Crocus also has a long-term exclusive license to MRAM-related intellectual property developed at Spintec, CNRS, and CEA.
On June 22, 2011, Crocus announced a new technology called Magnetic-Logic Unit (MLU) architecture, built on their TAS technology. This technology can be used to make ultra-secure functions such as smart cards, identity cards, SIM cards, and near-field communications (NFC) tamper-proof. The technology can operate at very high temperatures, making it useful in automotive and industrial electronics. MLU has the potential to replace a variety of other memory technologies such as SRAM, DRAM, NAND, NOR, and OTP.
On May 17, 2011, Crocus announced a joint venture with Rusnano, a Russian state-owned technology investment fund. The new venture, Crocus Nano Electronics (CNE) plans to invest US$125 million to build an advanced MRAM manufacturing plant in Russia. Additional funding to a projected total of US$300 million will be used to expand capacity of the plant after it begins production.
On June 18, 2009, Crocus Technology announced a partnership with integrated circuit specialty foundry Tower Semiconductor. As part of the deal, both companies will dedicate special equipment in Tower’s factory, and Tower will fully manufacture Crocus’ MRAM technology in its 200mm Fab2 facility. Tower took a $1.25 million equity position in Crocus.
Major investors include Rusnano, a Russian government-funded corporation that is aimed at commercializing developments in nanotechnology, and CEA Investissement, a company under the CEA that specializes in seed technology companies.
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