Defense Date


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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Jayasimha Atulasimha


Nanomagnetic logic, incorporating logic bits in the magnetization orientations of single-domain nanomagnets, has garnered attention as an alternative to transistor-based logic due to its non-volatility and unprecedented energy-efficiency. The energy efficiency of this scheme is determined by the method used to flip the magnetization orientations of the nanomagnets in response to one or more inputs and produce the desired output. Unfortunately, the large dissipative losses that occur when nanomagnets are switched with a magnetic field or spin-transfer-torque inhibit the promised energy-efficiency. Another technique offering superior energy efficiency, “straintronics”, involves the application of a voltage to a piezoelectric layer to generate a strain which is transferred to an elastically coupled magnetrostrictive layer, causing magnetization rotation. The functionality of this scheme can be enhanced further by introducing magnetocrystalline anisotropy in the magnetostrictive layer, thereby generating four stable magnetization states (instead of the two stable directions produced by shape anisotropy in ellipsoidal nanomagnets). Numerical simulations were performed to implement a low-power universal logic gate (NOR) using such 4-state magnetostrictive/piezoelectric nanomagnets (Ni/PZT) by clocking the piezoelectric layer with a small electrostatic potential (~0.2 V) to switch the magnetization of the magnetic layer. Unidirectional and reliable logic propagation in this system was also demonstrated theoretically. Besides doubling the logic density (4-state versus 2-state) for logic applications, these four-state nanomagnets can be exploited for higher order applications such as image reconstruction and recognition in the presence of noise, associative memory and neuromorphic computing. Experimental work in strain-based switching has been limited to magnets that are multi-domain or magnets where strain moves domain walls. In this work, we also demonstrate strain-based switching in 2-state single-domain ellipsoidal magnetostrictive nanomagnets of lateral dimensions ~200 nm fabricated on a piezoelectric substrate (PMN-PT) and studied using Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM). A nanomagnetic Boolean NOT gate and unidirectional bit information propagation through a finite chain of dipole-coupled nanomagnets are also shown through strain-based "clocking". This is the first experimental demonstration of strain-based switching in nanomagnets and clocking of nanomagnetic logic (Boolean NOT gate), as well as logic propagation in an array of nanomagnets.


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