Ramtron International Corporation (Nasdaq: RMTR), a leading developer and supplier of non-volatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) and integrated semiconductor products, has announced an AEC-Q100 automotive qualification programme for its FRAM devices.
The company is aggressively pursuing plans to qualify its FRAM devices to AEC-Q100 (Automotive Electronic Council’s Stress Test Qualification for Integrated Circuits) standards, and is developing a number of FRAM configurations specified for the Grade 1 (-40 degrees to 125 degrees C) operating range. This qualification programme has been developed to support a number of customer design-ins from in-cab applications to the vehicle’s most stringent environments.
Ramtron has already qualified two of its FRAM parts to AEC-Q100. These are the FM25640 64Kbit serial SPI FRAM and the FM24CL16 16Kbit, 3V serial FRAM.
“We are committed to meeting the design and sourcing challenges in the automotive industry with this line of AEC-Q100-qualified FRAM parts,” said Ramtron vice president Mike Alwais. “No other non-volatile memory solution can match FRAM’s fast write speed and high endurance. These latest developments are taking FRAM beyond in-cab applications into the vehicle’s most stringent environments.”
The AEC-Q100 qualification programme comes in tandem with the growing need for better non-volatile data storage solutions in automotive sub-systems. Electronic content in vehicles is becoming ‘smarter’ with the use of microcontrollers and sensors; FRAM already plays a vital role in high-content applications such as intelligent airbags, occupant sensors, infotainment systems, anti-pinch/trap sunroofs, automatic transmission, adaptive cruise control, steer-by-wire, etc. because it offers what older memories like EEPROM and Flash cannot: fast writes, high endurance and low power consumption. Fast writes are beneficial when capturing data from sensors, especially in noisy automotive environments or when power may suddenly fail. High endurance enables designers to capture information as often as they wish without the risk of wearing out the memory. Low power is an added benefit in applications with ever-lower power budgets such as car entertainment systems.
Ramtron International Corporation, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops and markets specialized semiconductor memory, microcontroller and integrated semiconductor solutions used in a wide range of product applications and markets worldwide. Ramtron pioneered the integration of ferroelectric materials into semiconductor products, which enabled the development of a new class of nonvolatile memory products called ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) products. FRAM products merge the advantages of multiple memory technologies into a single device that retains information without a power source, can read and write at high speeds, can be written to many times, and consumes low amounts of power. Additionally, Ramtron works with various leading-edge licensees and manufacturers to bring its technology to market.
In 1994, the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) established the AEC-Q100 qualification standard, which is recognized worldwide as a benchmark for automotive systems. Electronic components that meet AEC-Q100 standards are deemed reliable, high-quality components suitable for use in the harsh automotive environment without additional component-level qualification testing.