The electron spin degree of freedom can provide the functionality of "nonvolatility" in electronic devices. For example, magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) is expected as an ideal nonvolatile working memory, with high speed response, high write endurance, and good compatibility with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies. However, a challenging technical issue is to reduce the operating power. With the present technology, an electrical current is required to control the direction and dynamics of the spin. This consumes high energy when compared with electric-field controlled devices, such as those that are used in the semiconductor industry. A novel approach to overcome this problem is to use the voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy (VCMA) effect, which draws attention to the development of a new type of MRAM that is controlled by voltage (voltage-torque MRAM). This paper reviews recent progress in experimental demonstrations of the VCMA effect. First, we present an overview of the early experimental observations of the VCMA effect in all-solid state devices, and follow this with an introduction of the concept of the voltage-induced dynamic switching technique. Subsequently, we describe recent progress in understanding of physical origin of theVCMA effect. Finally, new materials research to realize a highly-efficient VCMA effect and the verification of reliable voltage-induced dynamic switching with a low write error rate are introduced, followed by a discussion of the technical challenges that will be encountered in the future development of voltage-torque MRAM.
- Magnetic tunnel junction
- Magnetoresistive random access memory
- Voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering