First secure microcontroller developed using novel Magnetic Logic Unit

November 05, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
Crocus Technology in Grenoble has developed the first in a series of SIM and secure microcontrollers for mobile payments, access control and tag reading using its magnetic materials technology.

The CT32MLU is based on Crocus’ Magnetic Logic Unit (MLU) and used the nano-SIM format.
An MLU is a CMOS based rugged magnetic technology capable of offering advanced embedded security. Crocus’ MLUs read and write ten times faster than Flash memory. It has a smaller footprint and is among the first SE microcontrollers offering 1.2 Mbyte of memory to meet the nano-SIM format, the new form factor that is 40 per cent smaller than the current micro-SIM format.
Together, these attributes bring significant advantages in performance, security and cost-effectiveness to makers of smartcards and other embedded memory products. The fast read and write speeds allow personalization and over-the-air updates. These are important as the chips will be used in NFC-enabled smartphones that need to support many applications.
“CT32MLU breaks the barrier of traditional non-volatile memory that will provide smartcard makers with best-in-class secure element microcontrollers with a 20 to 30 per cent smaller footprint,” said Alain Faburel, VP security business unit at Crocus Technology. “The CT32MLU product family is the culmination of Crocus’ long-term investment in Magnetic Logic Unit, a performance-driven technology that is gaining attention. We are pleased to announce our first product development at CARTES Paris to global leaders in security, payment, ID and mobility and confirm our entry into the smartcard market.”
Crocus has already sampled engineering parts from its manufacturing supplier Towerjazz semiconductor and is entering the battery backed SRAM market. Crocus is also preparing its entry in the high-end smartcard market.
In 2011, Crocus achieved two milestones. First, a joint development agreement with IBM to further advance the MLU architecture that includes coverage of a comprehensive patent portfolio. Secondly Crocus and Rusnano formed a joint venture, Crocus Nano Electronics (CNE), to build and operate an advanced manufacturing facility for magnetic semiconductors.
The CT32MLU1200 is the lead product in the CT32MLU family and complies with the highest industry quality and security standards. EMVco and Common Criteria