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

MRAM Process Stack

MRAM: A Challenging Process

MRAM manufacturing requires the critical control of the deposition, anneal, magnetization and etch of a complex stack of 20 to 30 very thin metal and insulating layers. These memory cells can make up a standalone memory chip or are embedded into a logic chip in the BEOL process flow when the chip is close to completion and the value of the chip is high. Inline, non-destructive process control is critical to understand and predict final device performance.

MRAM Process Flow and Control

Magnetic Tunnel Junction (MTJ)

MRAM Process Flow

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™


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 Polar Kerr


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™

Click on the KLA product links above to learn more about how KLA can help measure and control critical parameters in the MRAM process

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