TUNAMOS Solve Limitations of Integrated Oscillators in Wireless Devices

8/5/2005 - The project "TUnable NAno-Magnetic OScillators for integrated transceiver applications" aims at demonstrating the breakthrough concept spin torque in a nano-scale microwave integrated oscillator for application in wireless integrated devices. The project is part of the FP6 program of the EU and is being coordinated by IMEC.

Other partners in the TUNAMOS-project are STMicroelectronics, UPS Université Paris Sud and UFSD University of Sheffield. The project was launched on 1st of June 2005 for a duration of 3 years.

The recent discovery of the spin torque oscillator, a nano-patterned ferromagnetic device in which high-quality tunable microwave oscillations can be generated by a small DC current, opens perspectives to solve the paradigms in microwave engineering design. None of the RF oscillators existing today combines a high-quality resonance with a high integration level, necessary for low-power and low-cost applications, and wideband tunability.

The frequency of the oscillation generated by the spin torque oscillator can be tuned by a magnetic field as well as by the current in a range of 5-40GHz. Quality factors as high as 18000 have been observed, making the magnetic flute a natural current-controlled RF source. This electronic device is extremely suitable for integration because of the nano-scale dimensions (diameter of the contact <100 nm) and the simple structure of the metallic magnetic multi-layer. The fabrication is compatible with the back-end flow of standard Si technology and can fully profit from the cost/scalability economics reflected by Moore's law.

The TUNAMOS project aims to study the oscillating modes in the range of 5-10 GHz as well as the influence of parameters (e.g. temperature, 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.

This oscillator has the potential of bringing closer the vision of integrating flexible and agile low-cost radio capability into every silicon product of the intelligent environment of tomorrow.

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About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC's research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide, position IMEC as a key partner with which to develop and improve technologies for future systems.

IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1300 people includes over 400 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2004, its revenues were EUR 159 million. Further information on IMEC can be found on www.imec.be.

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