Manufacturing Bits: June 7

Intel’s spintronic spectrometer; light-matter interactions; combo sensors.

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Intel’s spintronic spectrometer
Intel and Stanford University have presented the first results for a technology called a ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) spectrometer.

Initially invented and developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), FMR examines the properties of materials for spintronic-based memories.

Today’s DRAMs store binary data in tiny capacitors. In contrast, spintronic-based memories manipulate the spin states of electrons. The performance of spintronics depends on ferromagnetic materials and how they resist changing their spin orientation. That property, called damping, is difficult to characterize.

Several years ago, NIST built a tiny system that could measure damping properties. The system became the FMR spectrometer.

A ferromagnetic resonance spectrometer (Source: NIST)

A ferromagnetic resonance spectrometer (Source: NIST)

Intel, according to NIST, decided to replicate this system. Using the FMR spectrometer, Intel and Stanford investigated the extrinsic damping caused by magnetic dead layers in Ta-CoFeB-MgO multilayers with perpendicular anisotropy.

“There are a plethora of logic and memory devices being researched at present. One of our jobs in Components Research is to sort through the various devices and establish the real from the hype,” said Brian Doyle from the Components Research Department of Intel, on NIST’s Web site. “For that, having the possibility of being able to nail down the key physical properties of any given system is fundamental to being able to accurately benchmark new devices.”

Light-matter interactions
The Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and others have observed a light-matter phenomenon in a nanowire at speeds that lasted only a few attoseconds. One attosecond is a billionth of a billionth of a second.

In the lab, researchers from Max Planck shot laser pulses onto a tiny nanowire made of gold, thereby causing excitations of electrons in the metal. This, in turn, caused electromagnetic near-fields on the surface. Near-fields are electromagnetic fields located close to the surface of the metal.

Then, researchers wanted to study the timing of the near-fields. To accomplish this, they sent another light pulse in the nanowire. The duration of the light pulse was a couple of hundred attoseconds.

The second pulse released electrons from the nanowire. They were detected as they reached the surface. The near-fields were oscillating with a time shift of about 250 attoseconds, according to researchers.

When laser light interacts with a nanoneedle (yellow), electromagnetic near-fields are formed at its surface. A second laser pulse (purple) emits an electron (green) from the needle, permitting to characterize the near-fields. (Image: Christian Hackenberger)

When laser light interacts with a nanoneedle (yellow), electromagnetic near-fields are formed at its surface. A second laser pulse (purple) emits an electron (green) from the needle, permitting to characterize the near-fields. (Image: Christian Hackenberger)

The experiments pave the way towards more light-matter interaction experiments with metals. This, in turn, could be applied towards the field of nano-optics and light-driven electronics. “Fields and surface waves at nanostructures are of central importance for the development of lightwave-electronics. With the demonstrated technique, they can now be sharply resolved,” said Matthias Kling, a researcher in the group.

Combo sensors
The Tokyo Institute of Technology and Olympus have developed a prototype of a new imaging system.

The imaging system enables the simultaneous acquisition of color RGB (red-green-blue) and near-infrared (NIR) images using a single image sensor. It consists of a novel color filter array (CFA). The array consist of both RGB and NIR filters. It can display RGB and NIR images simultaneously at 60 frames per second (fps).

To help propel the technology, researchers have also developed an image processing system. It can execute sets of image processing algorithms, such as color correction, in real time.

The proposed technology could be used in several emerging applications, such as remote sensing, security, robotics, agriculture, and medical imaging.