Cambridge makes 3D spintronics IC
A 3D spintronics IC built at Cambridge University could increase chip density by 1000 times.
The technique uses an electron’s spin to store data. This is the first time a spintronics device has been built in 3D.
The chip is built in three layers and data can move both vertically and horizontally on the chip.
Key to building the device is a technique for getting the data to move vertically between the layers.
The layers, each a few atoms thick, are made from cobalt, platinum and ruthenium. The storage mechanism, as in HDDs, comes from magnetism.
Although layered chips have been made in silicon CMOS, their cost scales up with the cost of each layer.
Adding layers to the Cambridge device doesn’t add much cost.
Spintronics is already being used in anger – Everspin uses the technique for its MRAMs – but the Everspin memories are 2D.