Doctor of Philosophy
A recent International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) report (2.0, 2015 edition) has shown that Moore’s law is unlikely to hold beyond 2028. There is a need for alternate devices to replace CMOS based devices, if further miniaturization and high energy efficiency is desired. The goal of this dissertation is to experimentally demonstrate the feasibility of nanomagnetic memory and logic devices that can be clocked with acoustic waves in an extremely energy efficient manner. While clocking nanomagnetic logic by stressing the magnetostrictive layer of a multiferroic logic element with with an electric field applied across the piezoelectric layer is known to be an extremely energy-efficient clocking scheme, stressing every nanomagnet separately requires individual contacts to each one of them that would necessitate cumbersome lithography. On the other hand, if all nanomagnets are stressed simultaneously with a global voltage, it will eliminate the need for individual contacts, but such a global clock makes the architecture non-pipelined (the next input bit cannot be written till the previous bit has completely propagated through the chain) and therefore, unacceptably slow and error prone. Use of global acoustic wave, that has in-built granularity, would offer the best of both worlds. As the crest and the trough propagate in space with a velocity, nanomagnets that find themselves at a crest are stressed in tension while those in the trough are compressed. All other magnets are relaxed (no stress). Thus, all magnets are not stressed simultaneously but are clocked in a sequentially manner, even though the clocking agent is global.
Finally, the acoustic wave energy is distributed over billions of nanomagnets it clocks, which results in an extremely small energy cost per bit per nanomagnet. In summary, acoustic clocking of nanomagnets can lead to extremely energy efficient nanomagnetic computing devices while also eliminating the need for complex lithography. The dissertation work focuses on the following two topics:
- Acoustic Waves, generated by IDTs fabricated on a piezoelectric lithium niobate substrate, can be utilized to manipulate the magnetization states in elliptical Co nanomagnets. The magnetization switches from its initial single-domain state to a vortex state after SAW stress cycles propagate through the nanomagnets. The vortex states are stable and the magnetization remains in this state until it is ‘reset’ by an external magnetic field.
- 2. Acoustic Waves can also be utilized to induce 1800 magnetization switching in dipole coupled elliptical Co nanomagnets. The magnetization switches from its initial single-domain ‘up’ state to a single-domain ‘down’ state after SAW tensile/compressive stress cycles propagate through the nanomagnets. The switched state is stable and non-volatile. These results show the effective implementation of a Boolean NOT gate.
Ultimately, the advantage of this technology is that it could also perform higher order information processing (not discussed here) while consuming extremely low power.
Finally, while we have demonstrated acoustically clocked nanomagnetic memory and logic schemes with Co nanomagnets, materials with higher magnetostriction (such as FeGa) may ultimately improve the switching reliability of such devices. With this in mind we prepared and studied FeGa films using a ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) technique to extract properties of importance to magnetization dynamics in such materials that could have higher magneto elastic coupling than either Co or Ni.
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