Embedded FRAM provides 8-bit MCU with optimal data retention - Embedded.com

Embedded FRAM provides 8-bit MCU with optimal data retention

A 8-bit MCU featuring embedded ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) has been introduced by Fujitsu Semiconductor America Inc. for a variety of general-purpose applications, including consumer electronics products, healthcare, and industrial systems.

Embedding FRAM into an MCU provides an architecture that eliminates chip-to-chip interconnects, which significantly improves the transaction speed and internal bus interface between MCU and memory, enabling performance, says Fujitsu, that flash or EEPROM cannot provide.

The MB95R203A MCU is the latest addition to Fujitsu F2MC-8FX family of 8-bit MCUs. It incorporates non-volatile FRAM that can be erased and rewritten 1015 times, with data retention guaranteed for 10 years. It has 8 kilobytes of user-accessible FRAM, which can be partitioned as either ROM or RAM. The ability to interchange data and work memory space makes the MB95R203A suitable for a variety of different applications and programming requirements.

The MCU operates with power supplies ranging from 1.8V to 3.6V and includes a range of timers and communication functions, as well as high-precision A/C converters, UART, I2C, and 16 I/O ports. The controller employs one-line on-chip debug, which requires a single MCU pin. An embedded oscillator circuit maximizes the number of pins available for use in smart meters, consumer appliances, electric tools, and other designs.   

FRAM incorporates anti-tampering protection to enhance data security and its non-volatile nature enables it to write so fast that the MCU need not wait for the write operation to complete. This high-speed write operation allows data to be written quickly even if power is lost suddenly. When power is reinstated, the MCU can resume operations from the previous state.

Programming code can be reduced, because there is no need to poll memory to complete a write operation, a process required by conventional memory. The operation is completed before polling takes effect. FRAM does not require code for wear leveling, which is common in Flash and EEPROM given their limited endurance cycles. FRAM’s much longer endurance cycle makes wear leveling redundant. Assuming that memory is accessed with four cycles at a constant 10MHz rate, it will take more than 12.5 years to exhaust the ferroelectric material.

The MB95R203A is shipped in 24-pin DIP or 20-pin SOP packages. Samples are available now at $1.60 each, and production quantities will be ready by the end of November 2010.

Reference Material

Fujitsu MB95R203A FRAM MCU fact sheet (preliminary)

“FRAM MCU Key Strengths and Applications” application note

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