Navigation Links
New material interface improves functioning of non-silicon-based electronic devices
Date:2/19/2013

For the first time, researchers have designed a special material interface that has been shown to add to and to improve the functioning of non-silicon-based electronic devices, such as those used in certain kinds of random access memory (RAM). According to Qi Li, a professor of physics at Penn State University and the leader of the research team, the new method could be used to design improved, more-efficient, multilevel and multifunctional devices, as well as enhanced nanoelectronic components -- such as non-volatile information storage and processing; and spintronic components -- an emerging technology that uses the natural spin of the electron to power devices. The research has been accepted for publication in the journal Nature Materials.

Li explained that most modern-day electronic chips -- integrated circuits that serve as the building blocks for semiconductor electronic devices such as solar cells, personal computers, and cell phones -- use silicon transistors to process "logical states," or the binary system of ones and zeros used by computers. This binary information is stored for fast access in RAM and also permanently in a magnetic form on hard disks. In this system, the numeral 1 can be understood as "on" -- with a current of electrons flowing freely -- and the numeral 0 as "off" -- with a current blocked. However, in recent years, Li said, researchers in laboratories across the world have been experimenting with different, non-silicon materials that "can toggle between a multilevel state system and can bring the memory into logic operation," and also function with greater speed and less power consumption than are possible with current technology.

Now, in a new research study, Li and her colleagues have designed and tested an alternative way of creating a device that is compatible with non-silicon technology and that combines into one device both an electronic and a magnetic junction. "Magnetic tunnel junctions -- which include two magnetic metallic layers with a very thin insulator barrier in between -- have been used for binary-state devices, such as magnetic random-access memories (MRAM). Tunneling itself is a quantum-mechanical effect," Li said. "Our goal was to create a multifunctional device with improved function by adding what we call a ferroelectric-magnetic interface -- a ferroelectric layer replacing the insulator barrier and a special interface layer, less than one nanometer thick, built into the device that acts to change from metal to insulator as well as from ferromagnetic to antiferromagnetic in response to the negative or positive charge polarization of the barrier." Thanks to this interface and through a phenomenon called the tunneling electroresistance effect, Li said, "we have found that the binary-state resistance difference, or the 1/0 system, is enhanced by up to 10,000 percent. This device is considered a quaternary-state device because we have integrated ferroelectric tunneling -- which can be used as a switch or memory -- into magnetic tunnel junctions, a type of magnetic memory."

Li added that her team's newly designed interface is special because the oxide materials used to build it are "multiferroic" -- one side magnetic and the other ferroelectric, with the magnetic layer changing with the ferroelectric switching. Ferroelectric materials, which are used in the capacitors built into medical ultrasound machines, as well as in other memory devices such as hotel key cards, have a spontaneous electric polarization of negative and positive charges that can be reversed. On the other hand, ferromagnetic materials, such as iron, form permanent magnets with magnetization direction also reversible. "Because our new interface combines both magnetic and ferroelectric properties and because we utilize the coupling effect between the two, we can reproduce a similar binary system with a much larger resistance difference between the two charge-polarization directions. With future modifications, faster switching and storage, or toggling, between 1 and 0 with the information also stored in the same device (or between the states of 1, 2, 3, and 4) may be possible," Li said. "With a 10,000-percent enhancement, the 1 is a stronger 1 and the 0 is a stronger 0, thanks to the physical properties of the materials used to build the interface structures. Stronger 1s and 0s mean sharper switching or fewer memory errors and better and faster information processing and storage power."

Li said that non-silicon materials that use enhanced tunneling-electroresistance-effect technology may be many years away from being available in personal computers and cell phones. However, her research is a next step toward demonstrating the feasibility of this technology. "A few of the exciting outcomes of a multiferroic interface built into tunnel junctions would be doubling the memory states from two to four, a switch and a memory in one chip, and electrical control of the magnetic devices. For example, a new generation of non-volatile multilevel data processing and storage would be possible with the combined memory of MRAM and ferroelectric RAM (fRAM) or logic operation." Li said.

Li explained that memory is considered non-volatile if it is stored even when it is not powered. "Most computers use dynamic random-access memory (dRAM) -- a form of computer data storage in which stored information fades from the capacitor unless it is refreshed periodically," Li said. "But with both MRAM and fRAM, if you shut down your computer while you are watching a video, then the video would pop back up on the screen immediately as soon as you powered the computer back on again. No restart of the window in your personal computer would be necessary."


'/>"/>

Contact: Barbara Kennedy
814-863-4682
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. New material promises better solar cells
2. Quantum Materials Corporation Announces Non-Heavy Metal (Cadmium-Free) Tetrapod Quantum Dots
3. A new material for environmentally friendlier electronics
4. Blue Marble Biomaterials Secures Distribution Agreement with SAFC
5. Market Outlook: The Future of Biomedical Materials
6. Engineer making rechargeable batteries with layered nanomaterials
7. New material harvests energy from water vapor
8. Bottom-up approach provides first characterization of pyroelectric nanomaterials
9. LA Dental Bone Graft Substitute & Other Biomaterials Market Reviewed in New iData Research Report Available at MarketPublishers.com
10. New funding to research super material graphene
11. Changing our material future, layer by layer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New material interface improves functioning of non-silicon-based electronic devices
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use ... 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. ... from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader in ... Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, Mosio ... practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of how ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the development of novel compounds designed to target ... compound, napabucasin, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation ... in the treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal ... cancer stemness inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 A person commits a crime, and ... to track the criminal down. An outbreak of ... Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a ... of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical ... Show Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade ... 25-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas ... highest percentage of growth in each of the following categories: ... companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... 16, 2016 The global ... to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according ... Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial ... to drive the market growth.      ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 2016 Das DOTM ... Nepal hat ein 44 Millionen ... Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, an ... und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte internationale ... teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste und ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):