Crocus Technology, a provider of magnetically enhanced semiconductor technologies and products, is to develop a multibit magnetic logic unit (MLU) technology for secure transaction applications and the Internet of Things (IoT).
This will be the first secure microcontroller designed with a multibit MLU architecture. By expanding the density of memory with no trade-off in the size of the die, customers will gain two important advantages.
One is greater flexibility to offer additional features and functions. The other is the benefit of a more compact product that will ease integration in complex devices.
Today, secure elements are based on flash memory or EEPROM, which are single bit per cell memory only. Crocus will be the first in the smart card and secure element market to release a product integrating a multibit per cell memory. Multibit per cell memory exists in standalone NAND and NOR storage applications, which always need larger density.
Crocus’ engineering teams at its security division based in Rousset, France, will develop this new enhanced capacity secure microcontroller through the Multismart project consortium.
The Secured Communications Solutions (SCS) competitiveness cluster, which focuses on contactless, M2M and mobile services, digital security and identities, the French Government and regional authorities are all supporting this collaborative project.
Multismart project partners include Gemalto, the world leader in digital security, LIRMM, a microelectronic design and security skills laboratory, and IM2NP, a specialist in semiconductor memory design and characterization.
Gemalto plans to develop a new operating system to address multibit’s distinctive performance features. LIRMM and IM2NP will test, qualify and characterize the end-product, a secure microcontroller featuring a secure element.
Crocus targets NFC (near field communication), secure transactions and IoT applications. It is strengthening its positioning in the secure element market that is expected to reach 900 million units by 2017 for NFC applications up from 245 million units in 2013, according to ABI Research.
“Crocus is thrilled to join a major global player like Gemalto and leading research laboratories LIRMM and IM2NP on a future development that will deliver a highly advanced product to help customers accelerate the deployment of multiple applications for mobile transactions and IoT,” said Alain Faburel, VP of the security business unit at Crocus Technology.
“We have yet to fully exploit the full potential of our Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) technology. On top of existing MLU performance and security benefits, the multibit technology brings even greater density. This means the ability to deploy more applications securely and provide our global security market customers with more available user data.”
Crocus’ MLU is a non-volatile magnetic technology offering significant advantages in performance, security and cost-effectiveness. MLU only requires the addition of three to four masking layers to standard CMOS, whilst bringing powerful benefits, including the unique ability to embed MLU-based secure memories and magnetic sensors into SoCs.