Magnetic-field-controlled reconfigurable semiconductor logic


Logic devices based on magnetism show promise for increasing computational efficiency while decreasing consumed power. They offer zero quiescent power and yet combine novel functions such as programmable logic operation and non-volatile built-in memory1,2,3,4,5. However, practical efforts to adapt a magnetic device to logic suffer from a low signal-to-noise ratio and other performance attributes that are not adequate for logic gates. Rather than exploiting magnetoresistive effects that result from spin-dependent transport of carriers, we have approached the development of a magnetic logic device in a different way: we use the phenomenon of large magnetoresistance found in non-magnetic semiconductors in high electric fields6,7. Here we report a device showing a strong diode characteristic that is highly sensitive to both the sign and the magnitude of an external magnetic field, offering a reversible change between two different characteristic states by the application of a magnetic field. This feature results from magnetic control of carrier generation8 and recombination in an InSb p–n bilayer channel9. Simple circuits combining such elementary devices are fabricated and tested, and Boolean logic functions including AND, OR, NAND and NOR are performed. They are programmed dynamically by external electric or magnetic signals, demonstrating magnetic-field-controlled semiconductor reconfigurable logic at room temperature. This magnetic technology permits a new kind of spintronic device, characterized as a current switch rather than a voltage switch, and provides a simple and compact platform for non-volatile reconfigurable logic devices.

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Figure 1: Magnetoconductance tunable by external voltage.
Figure 2: Programmable logic operation demonstrated by an AND/OR gate.
Figure 3: Demonstration of various Boolean operations.


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This work was supported by the KIST vision 21 programme, NRF grants funded by MEST (2010-0000506, 2011-0012386 and 2012-0005631), the industrial strategic technology development programme funded by MKE (KI002182), the Dream project, MEST (2012K001280), GRL and the Office of Naval Research.

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J.H. and J.D.S. planned the project and supervised the research. S.J. and T.K. fabricated the devices and collected the data. J.D.S, S.H.S. and J.Y.L. grew the materials. J.C., H.-W.L., K.R., S.H.H. and K.-H.S. analysed and discussed the data. J.C., J.H. and M.J. wrote the manuscript, which was edited and approved by all co-authors.

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Correspondence to Jinki Hong or Jin Dong Song.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Joo, S., Kim, T., Shin, S. et al. Magnetic-field-controlled reconfigurable semiconductor logic. Nature 494, 72–76 (2013).

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