Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Electronics: Magnetic memories on the right track

28.08.2014

An investigation into switching characteristics provides new criteria for achieving faster switching of magnetic memories.

Computer hard drives store data by writing magnetic information onto their surfaces. In the future, magnetic effects may also be used to improve active memory in computers, potentially eliminating the need to ‘boot up’ a computer. One way to achieve this is through a memory technology known as STT-MRAM that utilizes information stored in a pair of thin magnetic layers.


Pathways for the switching of a magnetic layer in an STT-MRAM device depend on the relative alignment of the two layers in the device.

Copyright : 2014 A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing

By performing calculations, Chee Kwan Gan and colleagues from the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing have proposed ways to improve STT-MRAM memory through identifying design options for achieving faster switching speeds, and hence faster data write times [1].

In STT-MRAM devices, the relative orientation of the magnetic fields in the two thin layers determines the electrical resistance experienced by a current flowing through the device. If the magnetizations of both layers are aligned in the same direction, then the electrical resistance will be lower than when the layers have different magnetic alignments.

Switching the device between different magnetic states — which corresponds to writing information into the memory — is achieved by electrons whose magnetic property, the spin, is aligned in one direction. Collectively, these electrons are able to change the direction of the magnetization in one of the layers. The time it takes to switch the magnetic direction depends on several factors, including the initial relative orientation of the magnetic fields in the two layers. The magnetization of the switched layer can follow various complex paths during the switching process (see image).

In previous experiments, the switching process was found to depend on two parameters. Using their computational model, the researchers could focus on one parameter — the less-studied ‘field-like’ term — that accounts for the relative orientation of the magnetic fields in both layers. The strength of this term depends on various factors, such as the device geometry and the materials used.

The calculations by the researchers show that, for devices with a strong field-like term, there is greater potential to reduce switching times than for devices in which the field-like term is negligible. Gan explains that this discovery will assist the development of improved STT-MRAM devices. “Our findings will motivate experimentalists to fabricate devices with strong field-like terms,” says Gan.

Furthermore, a better understanding of the origin of the field-like term is needed, adds Gan. “Although the effect of the field-like term has been confirmed experimentally and investigated in this work through simulations, it is important to understand its physical origins in order to improve material design.”

Reference

1. Tiwari, R. K., Jhon, M. H., Ng, N., Srolovitz, D. J. & Gan, C. K. Current-induced switching of magnetic tunnel junctions: Effects of field-like spin-transfer torque, pinned-layer magnetization orientation, and temperature. Applied Physics Letters 104, 022413 (2014).

Lee Swee Heng | Research SEA News
Further information:
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/7024
http://www.researchsea.com

Further reports about: A*STAR Electronics Magnetic Science electrons factors layers magnetization materials memories orientation resistance

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Present-day measurements yield insights into clouds of the past
27.05.2016 | Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI)

nachricht NASA scientist suggests possible link between primordial black holes and dark matter
25.05.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Worldwide Success of Tyrolean Wastewater Treatment Technology

A biological and energy-efficient process, developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck, converts nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment facilities into harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas. This innovative technology is now being refined and marketed jointly with the United States’ DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). The largest DEMON®-system in a wastewater treatment plant is currently being built in Washington, DC.

The DEMON®-system was developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck 11 years ago. Today this successful technology has been implemented in about 70...

Im Focus: Computational high-throughput screening finds hard magnets containing less rare earth elements

Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.

The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...

Im Focus: Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...

Im Focus: Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices

Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.

Im Focus: Graphene: A quantum of current

When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene

In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

International expert meeting “Health Business Connect” in France

19.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

11 million Euros for research into magnetic field sensors for medical diagnostics

27.05.2016 | Awards Funding

Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

New Model of T Cell Activation

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>