Spintronics is a research area trying to take profit from the spin of the electrons as a mean to obtain, transmit and process information. The spin of the electrons is a degree of freedom that is not explored by conventional electronics rely only on the electrical charge to drive electronic circuits. Spintronics use magnetic materials patterned at the nano-scale to produce spin polatized currents which drive a new class of beyond CMOS components which include magnetic field sensors, non-volatile memories and RF devices.
A full wafer of MTJs with heater line and temperature sensors for spin-caloric measurements.
Cross section of an MTJ nanopillar (FIB-Lamella).
Two MTJ nanopillars in an intermediate fabrication step. Both have a diameter far below 100 nm.
MAGNETIC ANNEALING SYSTEM (MATr 2000)
The MATR is a system used for annealing at elevated temperatures (up to 400 °C) in the presence of intense magnetic fields (up to 2 Tesla). Such magnetic fields are generated by a superconducting magnet module created by running current through windings of this material. The system can handle multiple wafers of 200mm and 150mm in diameter, in parallel or perpendicular position with respect to the magnetic field. There is also a 1×1 inch sample holder available.
UHV multitarget confocal sputtering tool (Kenosistec)
A multi-target UHV sputtering system consisting of a deposition chamber with 11 2” diameter magnetrons in confocal geometry for the co-deposition of materials, optimized wafers of up to 200m in diameter.
TiW, AlSiCu and Al2O3 sputtering (Timaris FTM)
The Four-Target-Module (FTM) physical vapor deposition cluster tool is especially designed for deposition of high–quality metallic, conductive and insulating films. The system is a UHV single wafer cluster tool and consists of one transport module, one multi-target PVD module with up to four DC/RF cathodes (three targets are install in this machine AlSiCu, TiW and Al2O3) and one soft etch/oxidation module. It is capable of depositing different magnetic and non–magnetic layers on wafers with diameters up to 200mm by DC/RF Magnetron Sputtering, with good uniformity for the deposited films. The FTM incorporates Linear Dynamic Deposition (LDD) technology in combination with up to four sputter targets in one vacuum chamber. The LDD technology enables the capability to deposit wedge films with a different film thickness across the wafer and to deposit alloy films with adjustable concentration gradients across one wafer.
Mutitarget sputtering tool (Timaris MTM)
The Multi-Target Module (MTM) physical vapor deposition cluster tool is especially designed for deposition of ultra–thin films, magnetic films, high–quality metallic, conductive and insulating films and multiple film stack deposition comprising these materials without the need to break ultra-high vacuum. The system is a UHV single wafer cluster tool and consists of one transport module, one multi-target PVD module with 10 DC/RF cathodes and one soft etch/oxidation module. It is capable of depositing different magnetic and non–magnetic layers on wafers with diameters up to 200mm by DC/RF Magnetron Sputtering (or Ion Beam Sputtering), with good uniformity for the deposited stacks.
Additional features such as wafer heating for hot substrate deposition or a collinear Aligning Magnetic Field (AMF) are available. The AMF can be activated to align the magnetic easy axis during deposition of ferromagnetic films.
The Linear Dynamic Deposition (LDD) technology enables the capability to deposit wedge films with a different film thickness across the wafer and to deposit alloy films with adjustable concentration gradients across one wafer. Both features allow a very cost effective development of film stacks and accelerate the devices development.
Current in-plane tester (CIPT)
To verify the transport properties of MTJs before nanofabrication a CIPT is used to perform TMR and RA measurements of bulk MTJ stacks. This is a very useful tool since it allows us to retrieve fundamental information of the MTJ stack prior to fabrication. To perform these measurements, the system contacts 12 cantilever electrodes with a variable spacing, down to 750 nm. It performs electrical measurements (current and voltage) through the different cantilevers with different spacing between them. This allows to determine the RA and TMR. The CIPT can determine RA values down to 0.1 Wμm² and measure the TMR with both in-plane and perpendicular anisotropy with in-plane fields up to 2500 Oe and perpendicular fields up to 1400 Oe.
Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM)
The VSM allows the measurement of the magnetic moment as a function of the applied magnetic field of unpatterned samples. Thus, it allowed us to measure and optimize the magnetic stacks and annealings used during this project. The used VSM system can measure magnetic signals down to 5⋅10^-7 emu and very low coercivities (10 mOe; field resolution) and can apply fields up to 2 T. It allows the fast and accurate measurement of the magnetic moment, not only as a function of the applied magnetic field, but also with temperature (which can be swept from 83 to 570 K). Angular and time dependences of the magnetization can be measured as well.
Automatic Transport Measurement Setup
Once the MTJ fabrication process is complete, this setup does a full characterization of thousands of MTJ devices on the full wafer. A system with 40 tips is used to characterized 10 MTJs in a 4-contact scheme per landing site. Statistically meaningful data regarding the device TMR, RA, shape of the transfer curves, and corresponding deviations arising from the nanofabrication process are obtained. Furthermore, a software allows a collecting different figures of merit (TMR, RA, coercive field, linear range of the curve, etc) and organize them for different parameters (die number, pillar sizes, TMR and RA range, etc).
RF prober for in-plane magnetic fields
Electrical contact to characterize RF devices was performed using special Cascade Microtech’s probes. These probes allow high accuracy RF measurements with low contact resistance. An optical microscope in conjugation with holders that allow high accuracy movements (both for the sample and the tips) are used to connect the contacts to the device. The RF measurements can be performed while injecting a DC current in the MTJ. Moreover, synchronization and spin diode torque studies can also be performed since an RF signal can be provided to the MTJ and the generated DC voltage measured. The signal is then transported through coaxial cables to a 3 Hz – 44 GHz spectrum analyzer where the emission spectrum can be acquired. Power suppliers are used to provide current both to the MTJ and the magnet. Automated control of the complete system can be performed to make sequences with different values of current and magnetic field. An amplifier is usually used to increase the measured signal, although its use was not necessary in the cases of MTJs with high output power. A bias tee is used to separate the DC and RF electrical components (being the last one sent to the spectrum analyzer). The magnetic field was applied using a small magnet. The orientation of the magnet could be manually changed but it was limited to relatively small magnetic fields (up to 200 Oe) in the in-plane direction.
RF prober for out-of-plane magnetic fields
A similar to the IP measurement setup this is an RF measurement setup with power supplies and spectrum analyzer, but for out-of-plane magnetic fields. Magnetic fields up to 1.6 T can be applied. The magnetic can be rotated between in-plane and out-of-plane direction with a highly precise stepper motor. The applied magnetic field value can be measured directly using a gaussmeter. The setup requires the positioning of the tips with the aid of an optical microscope. After the tips are properly connected to the contacts the microscope is easily displaced and the magnet positioned in the sample position.
Project Time Frame: Apr 2017 to Jan 2020
MAGLINE: Desenvolvimento e Validação Industrial do Processo de Fabricação de Sensores TMR
The latest generation of sensors (TMR) has major advantages over previous (Hall and GMR), and there is a market with sustained growth for application of these sensors. However the lack of industrial production capacity prevents its adoption in large scale commercial applications, although it is possible to acquire them commercially those marketed generic sensors are not optimized for any particular application. There is a clear opportunity to capture this market, and provide the market a large-scale production solution TMR sensors optimized and custom-made for different applications.
Project Time Frame: Nov 2017 to Sep 2020
The project embodies a comprehensive response towards the development and implementation of new production systems, embedding advanced production technologies that will equip the manufacturing industry to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 4th industrial revolution.
Project Time Frame: Nov 2017 to Sep 2020
INFANTE is a development and demonstration project for an in-orbit microsatellite, to be launched in 2020. This is the precursor of a constellation for Earth observation and communication with the focus on maritime applications.
INFANTE will be the first satellite developed by the Portuguese Industry, articulated in a national consortium led by TEKEVER group, that includes 9 companies with references in the space sector, as Active Space Technologies, Omnidea, Active Aerogels, GMV, HPS and Spinworks; and 10 internationally recognized R&D Centers in their areas of competence, such as CEIIA; FEUP, ISQ, FCT-UNL, INL, IPN, IPTomar, ISR Lisbon, IT Aveiro, and UBI.
Project Time Frame: Jan 2013 to Sep 2016
The broader objective is to bring the device level knowledge acquired in the past years by the partners towards systems as a first crucial step towards industrialization, warranting the leading position not only of European research but also of European industry in microwave spintronics.
Project Time Frame: Oct. 2012- Mar. 2016
SPINICUR (from spin currents) is a training network of European experts dedicated to providing state-of-the-art education and training for early stage and experienced researchers. We have concentrated on an aspect of spintronics – pure spin currents – and specific technical goals in order to secure a very high level of industrial involvement and strong network connectivity through a sharp focus.
Project Time Frame: Jul. 2013 – Jun. 2016
SpinCal stands for Spintronics and spin-caloritronics in magnetic nanosystems, a joint research project (JRP) funded by the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP). The aim of the project is to enable fundamental understanding of new effects emerging in the field of spintronics and spin-caloritronics in magnetic nanosystems. This goal was achieved by developing a new measurement infrastructure and a best practice guide for spin-caloritronic material measurements, providing a road map towards future standardisation of spintronic and spin-caloritronic measurements, materials and devices.
Project Time Frame: 2012-2015
Towards hybrid integrated heterogeneous technology devices.
also on the picture
Oscar Ojeda Toro
Visitor from Universidade Federal de Santa Maria and Universidade Federal de Viçosa
Arthur de Sousa Lopes Moreira and Marion Vieira
Master students from Université Clermont Auvergne (UCA)
Lianwei Wang, En Ping Tu and Hefu Han
from LerTech Co.,Ltd
Moved to IMEC after working at INL during 2013-2017
Moved to Champalimaud after working at INL during 2013-2015
Moved to Analog Devices after working at INL during 2013-2018
Moved to Headway after working at INL during 2013-2015