New Spintronics Manufacturing Process, Allowing Scaling Down To Sub-5nm (U. of Minnesota/NIST)


A new technical paper titled “Sputtered L10-FePd and its Synthetic Antiferromagnet on Si/SiO2 Wafers for Scalable Spintronics” was published by researchers at University of Minnesota and NIST, with funding by DARPA and others.

According to a University of Minnesota summary news article, “The industry standard spintronic material, cobalt iron boron, has reached a limit in its scalability. The researchers circumvented this problem by showing that iron palladium, an alternative material that requires less energy and has the potential for more data storage, can be scaled down to much smaller sizes.”


“As a promising alternative to the mainstream CoFeB/MgO system with interfacial perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA), L10-FePd and its synthetic antiferromagnet (SAF) structure with large crystalline PMA can support spintronic devices with sufficient thermal stability at sub-5 nm sizes. However, the compatibility requirement of preparing L10-FePd thin films on Si/SiO2 wafers is still unmet. In this paper, high-quality L10-FePd and its SAF on Si/SiO2 wafers are prepared by coating the amorphous SiO2 surface with an MgO(001) seed layer. The prepared L10-FePd single layer and SAF stack are highly (001)-textured, showing strong PMA, low damping, and sizeable interlayer exchange coupling, respectively. Systematic characterizations, including advanced X-ray diffraction measurement and atomic resolution-scanning transmission electron microscopy, are conducted to explain the outstanding performance of L10-FePd layers. A fully-epitaxial growth that starts from MgO seed layer, induces the (001) texture of L10-FePd, and extends through the SAF spacer is observed. This study makes the vision of scalable spintronics more practical.”

Find the open access technical paper here. Published Feb. 2023.

Lyu, Deyuan, Jenae E. Shoup, Dingbin Huang, Javier García‐Barriocanal, Qi Jia, William Echtenkamp, Geoffrey A. Rojas et al. “Sputtered L10‐FePd and its Synthetic Antiferromagnet on Si/SiO2 Wafers for Scalable Spintronics.” Advanced Functional Materials (2023): 2214201. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202214201.

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