What is FRAM?

FRAM stands for ferroelectric random access memory. As a ferroelectric memory, it is not affected by magnetic fields as there is no ferrous material (iron) in the chip.

 

What are the benefits of FRAM?

FRAM offers several advantages over other memory technologies such as flash, including faster write speeds, unified memory, low energy writes and there is no need for pre-erasing. These advantages directly translate into real function-level benefits in low-power applications.

 

Does FRAM lose data after a read?

No. FRAM is a nonvolatile storage memory that retains its data even after the power is turned off. However, similar to commonly used DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) found in personal computers, workstations, and non-handheld game-consoles, FRAM requires a memory restore after each read. A memory restore is done because FRAM memory cells require each bit accessed to be re-written in a refresh function. Because FRAM has a nearly inexhaustible write endurance (1015 write/read cycles), this is not a practical concern.

 

How large of an electric field can an FRAM device withstand?

The FRAM memory cell operates by applying a switched voltage to sense and restore the data state. The ferroelectric film PZT is about 70nm thick. If the device is placed in a 50 kV field at 1 cm, it is not possible to produce more than 1V across the ferroelectric film. As a practical matter, FRAM devices are impervious to external electric fields.

 

Is developing on FRAM completely different from working with a Flash-based MCU?

Not at all. The FRAM technology is completely transparent when it comes to writing code. The development environment is consistent and familiar. While programming and code development is identical to developing on a flash-based MSP430, the performance benefits are staggering, especially when the need is for in-system programming. In fact, FRAM improves on some traditional problems with data handling in flash. Unified memory eliminates boundaries between variable and constant data, which simplifies data handling, in-system programming and firmware image backup. Not only that, developers can write to FRAM at the bit level, further increasing programming flexibility.

 

To get answers to the following questions, click here:

 

  • How does FRAM perform at high temperatures?
  • Does new embedded FRAM memory technology raise security concerns?
  • Are FRAM devices affected by magnetic fields?
  • Is FRAM affected by radiation or soft errors?
  • Can you solder FRAM microcontrollers under the same conditions used for Flash memory based device?