In an era marked by a spiraling energy crisis, the world stands on the brink of a transformative revolution in downstream electronics technology, promising ultra-low power consumption combined with superior performance. To illustrate the potential, consider this: The energy AlphaGo consumed during its popular game Go in 2016 is equivalent to the daily energy use of 100 households. By 2021, Tesla’s autonomous driving AI will require more than ten times that amount of power to learn.
In response to this growing demand, the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Sciences (KRISS) has created the world’s first transistor capable of controlling the sky. This breakthrough paves the way for the development of the next generation of ultra-low-power devices and is expected to make significant contributions to quantum research and artificial intelligence. The results have been published in the journal Advanced materials.
Skyrmions, arranged in a vortex-like rotating structure, are unique because they can be miniaturized to several nanometers, making them immobile with exceptionally low force. This property positions them as a critical component in the evolution of spintronics applications.
The explosive growth of electronic engineering in the 21st century can be traced back to the invention of the transistor in 1947 at Bell Laboratories in the United States. The transistor acts as both an amplifier and a switch for electrical currents, and has been central to the field of electronic engineering. The discovery of Skyrmion in 2009 sparked large-scale research into a Skyrmion-based transistor, but the absence of core technology to control Skyrmion’s motion frustrated these efforts.
This bottleneck has been overcome with KRISS’s newly developed Skyrmion transistor, which takes advantage of proprietary technology to electronically manage the movement of Skyrmions created in magnetic materials. This innovative solution enables precise control of the sky or stop flow, similar to how conventional transistors modulate electric current.
A critical aspect of managing magnetic sky motion lies in controlling magnetic anisotropy, which affects sky energy. Previous research sought to regulate the magnetic anisotropy through the movement of oxygen within the devices but failed to achieve a uniform control.
To overcome this challenge, the KRISS Quantum Spin team has developed a pioneering method for uniform control of magnetic anisotropy by utilizing hydrogen within aluminum oxide insulators, marking a world-first experimental implementation of Skyrmion transistors.
The achievement marks another core spintronic hardware technology, following the institute’s 2021 achievement in the generation, deletion, and motion of Skyrmions. The advent of the spintronics transistor is set to accelerate the development of spintronics-based devices, such as neural and logic devices, which offer significant advantages in power consumption, stability and speed over conventional electronic devices.
Dr. Chan Young Hwang, Director of the KRISS Quantum Technology Institute, says, “Major Korean companies are putting their focus on the next generation of semiconductors that use bottom electronics to bypass the limitations of current silicon semiconductors. We plan to develop technology related to bottom electronics as well and integrate it into the next generation of bottom electronics.” Semiconductors and Quantum Technology.”
Reflecting on the significance of the achievement, Dr. Sungmo Yang, senior researcher at KRISS, says, “The transistor sparked the digital revolution in the 20th century. Now, the Skyrmion transistor is poised to catalyze a similar transformation, driving spin electronics technology into the 21st century revolution.”
Seungmo Yang et al, A Skyrmion magnetic transistor with voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy, Advanced materials (2022). DOI: 10.1002/adma.202208881
Provided by the National Science and Technology Research Council
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