Multiferroic materials breakthrough could enable new memory technologies

1 min read

A research team led by North Carolina State University has developed a method of integrating multiferroic materials on a silicon chip. The move is said by the team to enable the development of new memory devices. Prototypes are said to have been created and are being tested.

Multiferroic materials have both ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. "These materials offer the possibility of switching a material's magnetism or its electric polarity with a magnetic field – making them very attractive for use in next generation, low power nonvolatile memory devices," said Dr Jay Narayan, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State. Researchers had previously known that multiferroic materials could be created by layering barium titanate (BTO), which is ferroelectric, and lanthanum strontium manganese oxide (LSMO), which is ferromagnetic. But these thin films could not be integrated on a silicon chip because of diffusion issues. But Dr Narayan's team has developed a way to make BTO multiferroic without the need for LSMO. The researchers have also developed buffer layers that can be used to integrate either multiferroic BTO or a multiferroic BTO/LSMO bilayer film onto a silicon chip. "We've already fabricated prototype memory devices using these integrated, multiferroic materials and are testing them now," Dr Narayan added. "Then we will begin looking for industry partners to make the transition to manufacturing."