Future memory technology nodes will require faster, smaller, more power-efficient devices. Conventional memories such as Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DRAM) and Static Random-Access Memory (SRAM) are reaching their scaling limits. To overcome this, new emerging memories are being developed. Of these, perpendicular Spin- Transfer Torque Magnetic Random-Access Memory (STT-MRAM) is one of the leading contenders.
High performance STT-MRAM stacks can contain up to 20 different layers, each of which are 1 nm thick or less. The key component of this is the perpendicular Magnetic Tunnel Junction (p-MTJ). This consists of a CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB trilayer in which the one of the CoFeB layers is a fixed Reference Layer (RL) and the other is a switchable Free Layer (FL). The relative orientation of the magnetisation of these layers leads to two resistance states and thus a ‘1’ or ‘0’.
In order to design, and manufacture, these devices we must be able to monitor and measure the STT-MRAM stack and extract easily information on the magnetic behaviour of these layers. This is non-trivial as these properties change from a blanket film to the final patterned device.
The student will conduct experiments on improving the magnetic metrology around imec’s STT-MRAM devices. These will be carried out on a range of techniques such as Current In-Plane Tunneling (CIPT), Vibrating Sample Magnetometery (VSM) and a newly installed Polar Kerr. The topics, depending on the student’s strengths, can range from understanding the physical limits of magnetic metrologies for MRAM, the correlation between complementary methods, automation of analysis processes or simulation.
Type of project: Internship
Duration: 6-12 months
Required degree: Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science
Required background: Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Physics
Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Sebastien Couet (Sebastien.Couet@imec.be) and Johan Swerts (Johan.Swerts@imec.be) and Robert Carpenter (Robert.Carpenter@imec.be)
Only for self-supporting students