Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UCLA engineers announce breakthrough in semiconductor spin wave research


Engineers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science are announcing a critical new breakthrough in semiconductor spin-wave research.

UCLA Engineering adjunct professor Mary Mehrnoosh Eshaghian-Wilner, researcher Alexander Khitun and professor Kang Wang have created three novel nanoscale computational architectures using a technology they pioneered called “spin-wave buses” as the mechanism for interconnection. The three nanoscale architectures are not only power efficient, but also possess a high degree of interconnectivity.

“Progress in the miniaturization of semiconductor electronic devices has meant chip features have become nanoscale. Today’s current devices, which are based on complementary metal oxide semiconductor standards, or ‘CMOS,’ can’t get much smaller and still function properly and effectively. CMOS continues to face increasing power and cost challenges,” Wang said.

In contrast to traditional information processing technology devices that simply move electric charges around while ignoring the extra spin that tags along for the ride, spin-wave buses put the extra motion to work transferring data or power between computer components. Information is encoded directly into the phase of the spin waves. Unlike a point-to-point connection, a “bus” can logically connect several peripherals. The result is a reduction in power consumption, less heat and, ultimately, the ability to make components much smaller as no physical wires are actually used to send the data.

“Design of nanoscale architectures for computing is a very new area, but an important one for the future. In order to produce effective nanoscale devices, we need to actively look at new low power designs that can have efficient interconnectivity and allow scaling beyond current barriers,” Eshaghian-Wilner said.

The idea of using spin waves for information transmission and processing was first developed under the name “spin-wave buses” by UCLA Engineering’s Khitun, Wang and graduate researcher Roman Ostroumov.

“We’ve made a significant effort to demonstrate the operation of spin-based devices at room temperature,” Khitun said. “Our experimental results confirm the intriguing fact that information can be transmitted via spin waves propagating in spin waveguides — ferromagnetic films.”

The innovative work with spin-wave buses recently garnered the trio a prestigious 2006 Inventor Recognition Award from the Microelectronics Advanced Research Corp. The corporation funds and operates university-based research centers in microelectronics technology, seeking to expand cooperative, long-range applied microelectronics research at U.S. universities.

UCLA Engineering’s team contends that the creation and detection of spin-wave packets in nanostructures can be used efficiently to perform massively parallel computational operations, allowing for the design of the first practical, fully interconnected network of processors on a single chip. This breaks with currently proposed spintronic architectures, which rely on a charge transfer for information exchange and show significant interconnect problems.

Eshaghian-Wilner, in conjunction with Khitun and Wang, has developed three innovative, spin-wave bus-based designs that use spin waves to achieve the low-power device performance and improved scalability highly desired by industry chip manufacturers.

The first device developed by UCLA engineers, described in a paper presented publicly at the annual ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers, being held in Ischia, Italy, during the first week of May, is a reconfigurable mesh interconnected with spin-wave buses. The architecture of the device requires the same number of switches and buses as standard reconfigurable meshes, but is capable of simultaneously transmitting multiple waves using different frequencies on each of the spin-wave buses — making the parallel architecture capable of very fast and fault-tolerant algorithms. Unlike the traditional spin-based nanostructures that transmit charge, with this design only waves are transmitted, keeping power consumption extremely low.

“This innovative design represents an original approach for nanoscale computational devices while preserving all of the advantages of wave-based computing,” Eshaghian-Wilner said.

The second architecture invention, details of which will be published at the Nano Science and Technology Institute 9th Annual Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show — or Nanotech 2006 — being held in Boston during the second week of May, is a fully connected cluster of functional units with spin-wave buses. Each node simultaneously broadcasts to all other nodes, and can receive and process multiple data concurrently. The novel design allows all nodes to intercommunicate in constant time. This invention overcomes traditional area restrictions found in current networks.

The researchers also have developed a spin-wave-based crossbar for fully interconnecting multiple inputs to multiple outputs, and plan to announce the full details of the design at the 2006 IEEE Conference on Nanotechnology to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, this coming July. As compared to standard molecular crossbar designs, UCLA Engineering’s is much more fault-tolerant — allowing alternate paths to be reconfigured in case of switch failure. By transmitting waves instead of traditional current charge transmission, the design architecture allows a large reduction in power consumption and provides a high level of interconnectivity between many more paths than currently possible.

“We’re tremendously excited about the future of this research,” Eshaghian-Wilner said. “The designs demonstrate outstanding performance as interconnects for massively parallel integrated circuits.”

“Over the past few years, scientists have studied a variety of methods for designing nanoscale computer architectures. Our collaborative approach using spin-wave buses is a novel one that we hope will lead to additional breakthroughs,” Khitun added.

Currently, various extensions and applications of these three designs are being studied and evaluated by the UCLA Engineering team and their students. Postgraduate researcher Shiva Navab is proposing a set of innovative techniques for mapping biologically inspired types of computations on these models for image processing and neural computations. Other application areas being investigated include bioinformatics and implantable biomedical devices. Heterogeneous integrations of these designs in a complementary fashion with other molecular and nanotechnologies also are being developed.

The architectural methods are undergoing implementation and further testing at the UCLA Device Research Laboratories by research scientists Joon Young Lee, who specializes in spin wave based device processing, and Ming Bao, who carries out the time-resolved inductive voltage measurements aimed at detecting spin waves propagating in 100-nanometer-thick ferromagnetic films. The Device Research Laboratories nano facilities are led by Wang, director of the Functional Engineered Nano Architectonics Focus Center and the newly developed Western Institute of Nanotechnology, all headquartered at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Licensing inquiries should be directed to Dina Lozofsky at (310) 794-0204 or

Melissa Abraham | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht 'Super yeast' has the power to improve economics of biofuels
18.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Engineers reveal fabrication process for revolutionary transparent sensors
14.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>