Spintronic Microwave Oscillator CreatedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: June 27, 2012 04:40PM
At the heart of much of our wireless technology is an electronic oscillator that actually generates the signal an antenna propagates. These oscillators are currently made out of silicon and do their job pretty well, but soon they may have some competition. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have repurposed a kind of magnetoresistive RAM to make the most powerful nanoscale microwave oscillator in the world.
Spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory, or STT-RAM, is a multi-layered device the researchers realized could be used for an oscillator. One of the layers has a static magnetic polar direction while another can flipped by passing a current through it. By precisely controlling the current, the researchers are able to control the oscillator.
Other oscillators like this have been made before, but have never been both powerful and able to create high quality signals. This new design has satisfied both of those requirements by reaching 1 microwatt of signal power and a record signal linewidth of just 25 MHz, while still being 10,000 times smaller than modern silicon oscillators. This fact gives the new design the potential of being used in modern wireless devices, and as it can be manufactured with current methods, implementing them should not greatly add to a device's cost.