Electric-Field-Controlled Magnetoelectric RAM: Progress, Challenges, and Scaling

Amiri P. K. , Alzate J. G. , Cai X. Q. , Ebrahimi F., Hu Q., Wong K., ...More

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MAGNETICS, vol.51, no.11, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/tmag.2015.2443124


We review the recent progress in the development of magnetoelectric RAM (MeRAM) based on electric-field-controlled writing in magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs). MeRAM uses the tunneling magnetoresistance effect for readout in a two-terminal memory element, similar to other types of magnetic RAM. However, the writing of information is performed by voltage control of magnetic anisotropy (VCMA) at the interface of an MgO tunnel barrier and the CoFeB-based free layer, as opposed to current-controlled (e.g., spin-transfer torque or spin-orbit torque) mechanisms. We present results on voltage-induced switching of MTJs in both resonant (precessional) and thermally activated regimes, which demonstrate fast (<1 ns) and ultralow-power (<40 fJ/bit) write operations at voltages similar to 1.5-2 V. We also discuss the implications of the VCMA-based write mechanism on memory array design, highlighting the possibility of crossbar implementation for high bit density. Results are presented from a 1 kbit MeRAM test array. Endurance and voltage scaling data are presented. The scaling behavior is analyzed, and material-level requirements are discussed for the translation of MeRAM into mainstream memory applications.