August 5, 2005 – A new project, part of the FP6 program of the EU and coordinated by IMEC, is targeted at demonstrating the breakthrough concept of spin torque in a nanoscale microwave integrated oscillator, intended for wireless integrated-device applications. The project, entitled “TUnable NAno-Magnetic OScillators for integrated transceiver applications” (TUNAMOS), is scheduled for 3 years and boasts such partners as STMicroelectronics, UPS-Universite Paris Sud, and UFSD University of Sheffield.
The spin torque oscillator, a nanopatterned ferromagnetic device in which high-quality tunable microwave oscillations can be generated by a small DC current, may be the key to solving challenges in microwave engineering design. None of today’s radio-frequency (RF) oscillators combine a high-quality resonance with a high integration level, both of which are critical for low-power, low-cost applications and wideband tunability.
The oscillation frequency of the device can be tuned by a magnetic field as well as by the current in a range of 5-40GHz. This oscillator’s nanoscale dimensions (contact diameter <100nm) and metallic magnetic multilayer's simple structure make it well suited for integration. The TUNAMOS project will investigate the oscillating modes from 5-10 GHz, as well as the influence of parameters such as temperature and geometry on the microwave frequency, signal power, and phase noise. Monolithic integration with a high-gain RF CMOS amplifier circuit will boost the power to levels suitable for wireless applications.