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From Nanoelectronics to Nano-Spintronics

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Today's electronics uses electron charge as a state variable for logic and computing operation, which is often represented as voltage or current. In this representation of state variable, carriers in electronic devices behave independently even to a few and single electron cases. As the scaling continues to reduce the physical feature size and to increase the functional throughput, two most outstanding limitations and major challenges, among others, are power dissipation and variability as identified by ITRS. This paper presents the exposé, in that collective phenomena, e.g., spintronics using appropriate order parameters of magnetic moment as a state variable may be considered favorably for a new room-temperature information processing paradigm. A comparison between electronics and spintronics in terms of variability, quantum and thermal fluctuations will be presented. It shows that the benefits of the scalability to smaller sizes in the case of spintronics (nanomagnetics) include a much reduced variability problem as compared with today's electronics. In addition, another advantage of using nanomagnets is the possibility of constructing nonvolatile logics, which allow for immense power savings during system standby. However, most of devices with magnetic moment usually use current to drive the devices and consequently, power dissipation is a major issue. We will discuss approaches of using electric-field control of ferromagnetism in dilute magnetic semiconductor (DMS) and metallic ferromagnetic materials. With the DMSs, carrier-mediated transition from paramagnetic to ferromagnetic phases make possible to have devices work very much like field effect transistor, plus the non-volatility afforded by ferromagnetism. Then we will describe new possibilities of the use of electric field for metallic materials and devices: Spin wave devices with multiferroics materials. We will also further describe a potential new method of electric field control of metallic ferromagnetism via field effect of the Thomas Fermi surface layer.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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