Spintronics Memory

Researchers in the UK explore 2D hBN as a material for spin valves and MTJs

Researchers from the UK's Manchester University have explored opportunities presented by hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) as a prototypical high-quality two-dimensional insulator that can be used both as a barrier in MTJs and as for spin injection in lateral spin valves.

The research revealed the effect of point defects inevitably present in mechanically exfoliated hBN on the tunnel magnetoresistance of Co-hBN-NiFe MTJs. In particular, the researchers observe a marked enhancement of the magnetoresistance of the junction at well-defined bias voltages, indicating resonant tunneling through magnetic or 'spin-polarized' defect states.

The US NIST to establish a $10 million spintronics material research facility in Minnesota

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its partners in the US Nanoelectronic Computing Research (nCORE) consortium have awarded $10.3 million over four years to establish a spintronics research center in Mineesota.

The Center for Spintronic Materials in Advanced Information Technologies (SMART) will be led by and housed at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and will include researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, Georgetown University and the University of Maryland.

BiSb films feature a colossal spin hall effect and high electrical conductivity

Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a new thin film material made from bismuth-antimony (BiSb) that is a topological insulator that simultaneously achieves a colossal spin Hall effect and high electrical conductivity.

This material could be used as the basis of spin-orbit torque MRAM (SOT-MRAM). SOT-MRAM SOT-MRAM can overcome the limitation of spin-transfer torque in MRAM memories - and provide a much faster, denser and much more efficient memory technology. Up until now, though, no suitable material that features both high electrical conductivity and a high spin hall effect was developed.

Researchers find multi-layered Co/Ni films highly desirable materials for effective spin transfer torque

Researchers from the University of Lorraine in France report that following a comprehensive characterization of multilayers of cobalt (Co) and nickel (Ni), the material holds great promise for memory applications based on spin transfer torque (STT-MRAM).

Multi layered cobalt and nickel films for spintronics

It was already shown before that Co/Ni multilayers have very good properties for spintronics applications, but up until now it wasn't clear if the films have a sufficiently large intrinsic spin polarization, which is necessary to create and maintain spin-polarized currents in spintronic devices. It was now shown that the films have a spin polarization of about 90% - which is similar to the best spintronic materials.

Researchers from Mainz University demonstrate the basic principles of ultra-fast and stable memory based on Mn2Au antiferromagnets

Researchers from Mainz University demonstrate the basic principles of ultra-fast and stable memory based on the antiferromagnet Mn2Au. Antiferromagnetic materials are challenging to manipulate and to implement a read-out process (of the Neel vector orientation on).

Crystal structure of Mn2Au with antiferromagnetically ordered magnetic moments.

Up until now, researchers were only able to use a single antiferromagnetic material - copper manganese arsenide (CuMnAs), but this material had several disadvantages. The new compound, manganese and gold (Mn2Au) offers for example ten times larger magnetoresistance and other important advantages including its non-toxic composition and the fact that it can be used even at higher temperatures.

Researchers discover a metallic antiferromagnet with a large magneto-optic Kerr effect

Researchers from the NIST in the US and the University of Tokyo have discovered a metallic antiferromagnet (Mn3Sn) that exhibits a large magneto-optic Kerr (MOKE) effect, despite a vanishingly small net magnetization at room temperature.

MOKE measurements in non-collinear antiferromagnets

Compared to ferromagnetic materials, metallic antiferromagnets allow for faster dynamics and more densely packed spintronic devices due to the weak interactions between antiferromagnetic cells. The researchers believe that such materials hold promise for future antiferromagnetic spintronic devices, where the magnetic state could transduced optically and switched either optically or by applying current.

Frustrated magnetic skyrmions may find applications in future spintronic devices

Researchers from Japan and China have discovered the exotic dynamics of frustrated magnetic skyrmions - which are different from that of magnetic skyrmions in common ferromagnetic materials. Magnetic skyrmions are very interesting for several spintronic applications, including magnetic memory and logic computing devices.

Skyrmions and antiskyrmions in a frustrated magnet photo

In conventional ferromagnetic materials, the helicity (degree of freedom) of a skyrmion cannot be effectively controlled, but the researchers found that in frustrated magnetic materials it is possible to control the skyrmion helicity by utilizing the helicity locking-unlocking transition of the material. The researcher further conclude that one can use frustrated skyrmions as a binary memory utilizing two stable Bloch-type states, where the helicity can be switched by applying current.

EU-funded project announced the first prototypes of nanoporous magnetic memories

The partners in the EU-funded SPIN-PORICS (Merging Nanoporous Materials with Energy-Efficient Spintronics) announced the first prototypes of nanoporous magnetic memories, based on copper and nickel alloys (CuNi).

The project team reported being able to achieve a 35% reduction of magnetic coercivity compared to current devices, which meets the energy consumption required to reorientate the magnetic domains which is necessary for data recording. This result is due to the nanoporous design which enables the whole film - not only the surface - to participate in the electromagnetic effect.

NIST researchers develop an efficient spin valve / memristor device

Researchers from the NIST were granted a patent for a device that combines a spin valve with a memristor (a device that is the basis of next-generation RRAM memory devices). The device can be used to turn on and off a spin channel.

The researchers say that their patented device may be a fundamental building-block in future spintronic devices as it combines the non-volatile memory in memristors with the technology of a spin valve. The intention is simple and can be used in several ways - as an on/off switch for spin currents, as an interconnect between different spintronic components and as an interface between magnetic and electronic features.