Ramtron International

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Ramtron International Corporation
Type Public
Traded as NASDAQRMTR
Industry Semiconductors
Founded 1984
Headquarters Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Products Nonvolatile F-RAM Memory
Integrated Semiconductors
Employees 115
Website www.ramtron.com

Ramtron International Corporation, located in Colorado Springs, CO, is the main supplier of F-RAM chips and integrated semiconductor products. The company sells serial and parallel ferroelectric random access memory (F-RAM) devices and Processor Companion devices that integrate a variety of common discrete analog and mixed-signal functions for processor-based systems. The company also sells non-memory devices enabled by F-RAM technology such as non-volatile state savers and IC-based event data recorders. Ramtron is a fabless company with manufacturing partners in the United States and Japan and technology partnerships worldwide.

History[edit]

Ramtron was founded in 1984 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A prototype F-RAM device was unveiled at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in 1988.On November 21, 2006, Ramtron International Corp.announced the resignation of two board members on Tuesday, they were Klaus Fleischmann and Doris Keitel-Schulz.[1]

In September 2012 a definitive merger agreement was signed between Ramtron International Corporation and Cypress Semiconductor.[2] The merger was officially completed on November 20, 2012.[3]

F-RAM Technology[edit]

F-RAM (ferroelectric random access memory) offers a unique set of features relative to other semiconductor technologies. Established semiconductor memories can be divided into two categories: volatile and nonvolatile. Volatile memory includes SRAM (static random access memory) and DRAM (dynamic random access memory), among others. RAM type devices are easy to use, offer high performance, but they share a common vulnerability: stored memory is lost when the power supply is removed.

An F-RAM chip contains a thin ferroelectric film of lead zirconate titanate [Pb(Zr,Ti)O3], commonly referred to as PZT. The Zr/Ti atoms in the PZT change polarity in an electric field, thereby producing a binary switch. Unlike RAM devices, F-RAM retains its data memory when power is shut off or interrupted, due to the PZT crystal maintaining polarity. This unique property makes F-RAM a low power, non-volatile memory.

Like F-RAM, ROM (read only memory) is a non-volatile memory that does not lose its data content when power is removed. Newer generation ROM, like EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read only memory) and flash memory, can be erased and re-programmed multiple times, but they require high voltage and write very slowly. ROM-based technologies eventually wear out (in as little as 100,000 cycles), making them unsuitable for high-endurance industrial applications.

F-RAM has 10,000 times greater endurance[citation needed] and 3,000 times less power consumption[citation needed] than a typical serial EEPROM device, and nearly 500 times the write speed.[citation needed]

F-RAM combines RAM and ROM functionality into a single package that provide fast writes, high endurance and low power consumption.

F-RAM Technology Benefits[edit]

Fast write speed F-RAM performs read and write operations at the same speed. Because F-RAM writes data at bus speed, there are no delays before the written data becomes non-volatile. Floating gate memories have long write delays of 5 milliseconds. F-RAM writes in nanoseconds.[citation needed]

High endurance F-RAM offers virtually unlimited write endurance,[citation needed] which allows it to write much more often than non-volatile memory devices. Floating gate devices experience a hard failure and stop writing in as little as 100,000 cycles, making them unsuitable for write-intensive applications.

Low power consumption F-RAM operates without a charge pump, enabling low power consumption. Floating gate devices demand high voltage during write operations. F-RAM writes at the native voltage of the manufacturing process: 5V, 3V, 1.8V, or even less on more advanced processes.

Products[edit]

Ramtron's F-RAM non-volatile memory product line features industry-standard serial and parallel interface memories; industry standard package types; and 4-kilobit, 16-kilobit, 64-kilobit, 256-kilobit, 1-megabit, 2-megabit, and 4-megabit densities.

In recent years Ramtron has extended their product offering beyond standard memories to include Integrated Products, Wireless Products, and a growing line of mixed signal products. All of these newer product lines integrate F-RAM embedded memories with application-specific functionality such as wireless interfaces, processor & power monitoring, data logging, and real-time timekeeping.

In 1998, RAMTRON created ESDRAM [1], which was at the time the fastest synchronous DRAM. It was frequently used in place of fast SRAM in high performance embedded systems such as communications, DSP, and computer boards.[citation needed] In 2005, the company introduced a New +125C Automotive FRAM Memory that further upgraded the data retention specifications.[4]

References[edit]

See also[edit]