Scalable energy-efficient magnetoelectric spin–orbit logic


Since the early 1980s, most electronics have relied on the use of complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) transistors. However, the principles of CMOS operation, involving a switchable semiconductor conductance controlled by an insulating gate, have remained largely unchanged, even as transistors are miniaturized to sizes of 10 nanometres. We investigated what dimensionally scalable logic technology beyond CMOS could provide improvements in efficiency and performance for von Neumann architectures and enable growth in emerging computing such as artifical intelligence. Such a computing technology needs to allow progressive miniaturization, reduce switching energy, improve device interconnection and provide a complete logic and memory family. Here we propose a scalable spintronic logic device that operates via spin–orbit transduction (the coupling of an electron’s angular momentum with its linear momentum) combined with magnetoelectric switching. The device uses advanced quantum materials, especially correlated oxides and topological states of matter, for collective switching and detection. We describe progress in magnetoelectric switching and spin–orbit detection of state, and show that in comparison with CMOS technology our device has superior switching energy (by a factor of 10 to 30), lower switching voltage (by a factor of 5) and enhanced logic density (by a factor of 5). In addition, its non-volatility enables ultralow standby power, which is critical to modern computing. The properties of our device indicate that the proposed technology could enable the development of multi-generational computing.

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Fig. 1: MESO logic transduction and device operation.
Fig. 2: Operating mechanisms for MESO logic.
Fig. 3: Energy and delay of the MESO device.
Fig. 4: Performance and area of MESO device in comparison with advanced CMOS and leading beyond-CMOS devices.
Fig. 5: Spin–orbit readout for the MESO device.
Fig. 6: Progress of magnetoelectric transduction via MESO towards a voltage of 100 mV.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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We are grateful to A. Fert and J.-P. Wang for discussions. We acknowledge F. Rana, D. Schlom and F. Casanova for insights shared with us. We also acknowledge the support of K. Oguz and B. Buford of Intel Corporation for discussions on device integration and metrology. R.R. acknowledges the long-term support of the Quantum Materials programme funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, which laid the foundation for the key elements of the work reported in this paper. B.P., Y.-L.H. and R.R. acknowledge support from Semiconductor Research Corporation within the JUMP program.

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Nature thanks V. Bertacco, Y. Otani and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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S.M. identified the use of the inverse spin–orbit effect for electrically transduced spin-logic devices. S.M., D.E.N. and I.A.Y. developed the logic circuits. S.M. developed the scaling laws, physical macro models and interconnect estimates. H.L. developed circuit design techniques and performed the logic-circuit simulations with the physical macro models. S.M. and R.R. developed the material scaling options and coordinated the material growth. S.M. conceptualized the test devices and designed the experiments and measurements for the magnetoelectric and spin–orbit devices. D.E.N. benchmarked the performance of the circuits. C.-C.L., B.P. and T.G. performed the layout of the test devices, processed the devices and identified processing methods for sub-micron-sized magnetoelectric and spin–orbit devices. S.M. and E.B. measured the magnetoelectric devices. S.M. and T.G. measured the spin–orbit devices. B.P., Y.-L.H. and E.B. deposited the samples and performed material characterization under the supervision of R.R. S.M. wrote the manuscript and D.E.N., I.A.Y. and R.R. edited the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript and interpreted the data.

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Correspondence to Sasikanth Manipatruni.

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This file contains a Supplementary Guide and Supplementary Text sections A to Q, which includes Supplementary Figs. 1 to 24 and Supplementary Tables 1 to 4.

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Manipatruni, S., Nikonov, D.E., Lin, C. et al. Scalable energy-efficient magnetoelectric spin–orbit logic. Nature 565, 35–42 (2019).

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  • Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)
  • Switching Energy
  • Simulation Program With Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE)
  • Spin Current
  • CMOS Devices

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