Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Messina in Italy developed a new MRAM memory device composed of antiferromagnetic materials, which could be beneficial for use in AI systems and cryptocurrency mining.

Magnetic switching with antiferromagnet IrMn3 - device design

Antiferromagnetic materials (AFM), offer inherently faster dynamics than ferromagnetic materials (FM), have no macroscopic magnetic poles and can be scaled much better. AFM-based memory cannot be erased with external magnetic fields which could prove to be a major security advantage.

In 2020, the research team first demonstrated the electrical writing of information in a silicon-compatible antiferromagnetic memory device. The researchers now improved on the initial design in multiple ways, using a manufacturing-friendly antiferromagnetic material system called iridium manganese (IrMn3). The researchers demonstrated electrical switching of antiferromagnetic IrMn3 using differential voltage measurements.

The new material is a CMOS-compatible non-collinear antiferromagnet, which makes it promising for integration into practical memory/logic chips. The researchers also presented a new device layout and differential measurement method that enables a way to clearly distinguish between switching signals that have magnetic and non-magnetic origins.



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