From materials to systems: a multiscale analysis of nanomagnetic switching


With the increasing demand for low-power electronics, nanomagnetic devices have emerged as strong potential candidates to complement present day transistor technology. A variety of novel switching effects such as spin torque and giant spin Hall offer scalable ways to manipulate nanosized magnets. However, the low intrinsic energy cost of switching spins is often compromised by the energy consumed in the overhead circuitry in creating the necessary switching fields. Scaling brings in added concerns such as the ability to distinguish states (readability) and to write information without spontaneous backflips (reliability). A viable device must ultimately navigate a complex multi-dimensional material and design space defined by volume, energy budget, speed, and a target read–write–retention error. In this paper, we review the major challenges facing nanomagnetic devices and present a multiscale computational framework to explore possible innovations at different levels (material, device, or circuit), along with a holistic understanding of their overall energy delay–reliability trade-off.

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Change history

  • 23 February 2018

    The original version of this article unfortunately contained an error. The authors would like to correct the error with this erratum.


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We acknowledge discussions with Prof. W. H. Butler on Heusler studies, I. Rungger and S. Sanvito from the Smeagol team for ab-initio transport calculations, P. Visscher and B. Behin-Aein on Fokker–Planck and write error study in STT-MRAM. We also acknowledge the support from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) center for nanophase materials sciences (CNMS) on computational resources. This work was funded over the years by DARPA, NSF-SHF, SRC-NRI and IBM Fellowship.

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Correspondence to Yunkun Xie.

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Xie, Y., Ma, J., Ganguly, S. et al. From materials to systems: a multiscale analysis of nanomagnetic switching. J Comput Electron 16, 1201–1226 (2017).

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  • Nanomagnetics
  • Computational spintronics
  • Spin logic
  • Neuromorphic spintronics