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

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

Page: 1 2 3

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