At the upcoming Intermag 2021 conference, Jean Pierre Nozieres, founder and CEO of French spintronics company Antaios, will be speaking from first-hand experience when he addresses attendees in a special session titled “Entrepreneurship: Launching a Start-up Company”. Antaios is the fourth company he has founded related to magnetic memory technology.
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Bankrolled with a fresh influx of $11 million in venture capital, the company he leads now is setting out to accelerate innovation and develop new strategic partnerships in its quest to commercialize its spin-orbit torque magneto-resistance random access memory (SOT-MRAM) technology. With a unique set of attributes, SOT-MRAM has the potential to be deployed in almost every chip, becoming a candidate for the long-awaited universal embedded memory.
“This funding is a key milestone for Antaios, asserting the value of our technology and the industry’s interest for SOT as the next-generation MRAM, which solves the limitations of its current implementations. We are proud to have attracted a blend of financial and corporate investors, bringing not only financial support, but also business outreach and savviness. We look forward to engaging with key ecosystem partners to bring the technology to the market,” said Nozieres.
The new funding came in September from technology funds focused on identifying and fostering promising, fast-growth, early-stage technology companies. It is led by French venture capital firms Innovacom and Sofimac Innovation, together with Silicon Valley-based Applied Ventures, LLC, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials, Inc. Additional financing also comes from Bpifrance, a French public Investment Bank, and other bank partners.
SOT-MRAM is the latest generation of magneto-resistance random access memory, the company says. Unlike its predecessor Spin Transfer Torque (STT) MRAM though, SOT-MRAM does not require passing of a high current through the magnetic device during the write operation, with the writing done by a current flowing through an adjacent metal line.
SOT switching is based on the electron spin-orbit interaction which is a relativistic effect of a charge (electron) moving at high speed through an electric field from the crystalline lattice. Due to Lorentz transformation, the electrons experience an effective magnetic field, which splits the trajectories of electrons with opposite spins.
By enabling simultaneously high operating speed and infinite read/write endurance, SOT has the potential to replace both embedded non-volatile memory and embedded cache in microcontrollers, microprocessors and system-on-chip designs. It is widely recognized as the next generation MRAM, beyond spin-transfer torque (STT) which is currently ramping up at major semiconductor foundries.
Magnetoresistance is the property of a material, typically ferromagnetic, to change the value of its electrical resistance in an externally applied magnetic field, the effect that makes it used as a data storage mechanism. The ferromagnetic material used by Antaios is a full magnetic tunnel junction stack supplied by Applied Materials, which is also an investor. Expert in modifying materials at atomic levels and on an industrial scale, its materials engineering systems are used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world.
The three other MRAM-related start-ups at which Nozierre, a physicist, has been a founder are Crocus Technology, where he served as CTO, eVaderis, and Hprobe. He is a research director from CNRS, France’s largest research organization. He is also a founder of its Spintec laboratory and was formerly executive director of the lab. Antaios, founded in 2017, was spun-off from the lab. He has also worked in IBM’s Storage System Division and Applied Magnetics Corporation in the US.
Originally scheduled for April 26-30 in Lyon, France, Intermag will be held virtually this year on the same dates. The session on entrepreneurship is scheduled for April 29. Magnetics Magazine is a supporting partner of the event.