NDnano seminar: History & implementation of STT-MTJ based non-volatile computing devices


Brayan Navarrete, Florida International University


With the potential fall of Moore’s Law and the ever-increasing gap between the performance of processor and memory, more than ever a type of computing device is needed to help boost both the performance of memory and remove the fear of not achieving Moore’s Law. Magnetic logic devices have the advantage of non-volatility, radiation hardness, scalability, and three-dimensional (3D) integration. Despite these advantages, nanomagnetic applications for information processing remain limited. The main stumbling block is the high energy required to switch information states in the spin-based devices. Recently, the spin transfer torque (STT) effect has been introduced as a promising solution. STT-based magnetic tunneling junctions (MTJs) use a spin polarized electric current to switch magnetic states. They are theorized to bring the switching energy down. However, the switching current density remains in the order of 1 MA/cm 2 in the current STT-MTJ devices, with the smallest device reported to date around 10 nm. This current density remains inadequately high for enabling a wide range of information processing applications. For the technology to be competitive in the near future, it is critical to show that it could be favorably scaled into the sub-10-nm range. This is an intriguing size range that remains unexplored. Nanomagnetic devices may display promising characteristics that can make them superior to their semiconductor counterparts.


Brayan Navarrete is a PhD student currently attending Florida International University in Miami. He is working under Dr. Sakhrat Khizroev, investigating magnetic and electrical characteristics of sub-10-nm magnetic materials within Spin Transfer Torque (STT) Magnetic Tunneling Devices (MTJ).