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Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Jayasimha Atulasimha, Ph.D.


Future computing will require significant development in new computing device paradigms. This is motivated by CMOS devices reaching their technological limits, the need for non-Von Neumann architectures as well as the energy constraints of wearable technologies and embedded processors. The first device proposal, an energy-efficient voltage-controlled domain wall device for implementing an artificial neuron and synapse is analyzed using micromagnetic modeling. By controlling the domain wall motion utilizing spin transfer or spin orbit torques in association with voltage generated strain control of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy in the presence of Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI), different positions of the domain wall are realized in the free layer of a magnetic tunnel junction to program different synaptic weights. Additionally, an artificial neuron can be realized by combining this DW device with a CMOS buffer. The second neuromorphic device proposal is inspired by the brain. Membrane potential of many neurons oscillate in a subthreshold damped fashion and fire when excited by an input frequency that nearly equals their Eigen frequency. We investigate theoretical implementation of such “resonate-and-fire” neurons by utilizing the magnetization dynamics of a fixed magnetic skyrmion based free layer of a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ). Voltage control of magnetic anisotropy or voltage generated strain results in expansion and shrinking of a skyrmion core that mimics the subthreshold oscillation. Finally, we show that such resonate and fire neurons have potential application in coupled nanomagnetic oscillator based associative memory arrays.


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