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Recent Progress in the Voltage-Controlled Magnetic Anisotropy Effect and the Challenges Faced in Developing Voltage-Torque MRAM

1
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Spintronics Research Center, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan
2
The Institute of Solid State Physics, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8531, Japan
3
Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-8531, Japan
4
Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8577, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2019, 10(5), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10050327
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 12 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract

The electron spin degree of freedom can provide the functionality of “nonvolatility” in electronic devices. For example, magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) is expected as an ideal nonvolatile working memory, with high speed response, high write endurance, and good compatibility with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies. However, a challenging technical issue is to reduce the operating power. With the present technology, an electrical current is required to control the direction and dynamics of the spin. This consumes high energy when compared with electric-field controlled devices, such as those that are used in the semiconductor industry. A novel approach to overcome this problem is to use the voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy (VCMA) effect, which draws attention to the development of a new type of MRAM that is controlled by voltage (voltage-torque MRAM). This paper reviews recent progress in experimental demonstrations of the VCMA effect. First, we present an overview of the early experimental observations of the VCMA effect in all-solid state devices, and follow this with an introduction of the concept of the voltage-induced dynamic switching technique. Subsequently, we describe recent progress in understanding of physical origin of the VCMA effect. Finally, new materials research to realize a highly-efficient VCMA effect and the verification of reliable voltage-induced dynamic switching with a low write error rate are introduced, followed by a discussion of the technical challenges that will be encountered in the future development of voltage-torque MRAM. View Full-Text
Keywords: voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy; magnetoresistive random access memory; magnetic tunnel junction voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy; magnetoresistive random access memory; magnetic tunnel junction
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Nozaki, T.; Yamamoto, T.; Miwa, S.; Tsujikawa, M.; Shirai, M.; Yuasa, S.; Suzuki, Y. Recent Progress in the Voltage-Controlled Magnetic Anisotropy Effect and the Challenges Faced in Developing Voltage-Torque MRAM. Micromachines 2019, 10, 327.

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