Straintronics: Manipulating nanomagnets with strain for causal intelligence

22nd September 2021

Timing : 1 pm EST

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For a list of all talks at the NanoBio seminar Series Fall'21, see here

The quest for an exquisite hardware platform for information processing and communication has spawned many ideas. A promising one involves nanomagnetic switches manipulated with electrically generated mechanical strain (“straintronics” – in analogy with electronics and spintronics). They can be roughly two orders of magnitude more energy-efficient than state-of-the-art transistors (several orders of magnitude more energy-efficient than nanomagnets switched with spin transfer torque or spin orbit torque), besides being non-volatile and therefore ideal for powerful non-von-Neumann architectures and assorted non-Boolean paradigms. Unfortunately, they are also rather error-prone and therefore not optimal for rigid computing such as Boolean logic.
Our collaborators and we have developed many constructs for processing and communicating information with strain-switched nanomagnets (straintronics). They include neuromorphic processors dissipating miniscule amount of energy, compact Boltzmann machines for image classification, ternary content addressable memory with drastically reduced footprint, image processors that can perform edge enhancement detection via dipole interactions between nanomagnets activated by strain, Bayesian inference engines, correlators/anti-correlators for probabilistic bits, bit comparators for cyber-security, analog computing, and (non-volatile) matrix multipliers for machine learning. We have also experimentally demonstrated communication devices such as electromagnetic and acoustic antennas with strain switched nanomagnets. Most recently, we demonstrated a spin-wave nano-antenna based on tripartite coupling between phonons, magnons and photons in strain-sensitive nanomagnets (the first evidence of such tripartite coupling). The gain and radiation efficiency of these unconventional antennas exceed the theoretical limits by more than two orders of magnitude.

Supriyo Bandyopadhyay
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University

Supriyo Bandyopadhyay is Commonwealth Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University where he directs the Quantum Device Laboratory. Research in the laboratory has been frequently featured in national and international media (newspapers, internet blogs, magazines, journals such as Nature and Nanotechnology, CBS, NPR and internet news portals). The laboratory’s educational activities were featured in a pilot study conducted by the ASME in Pennsylvania State University.
Prof. Bandyopadhyay is the winner of many awards. In 2016, he was named Virginia’s Outstanding Scientist by Virginia’s Governor Terence R. McAuliffe and in 2018, he received the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award from Governor Ralph Northam. He recently served as a Jefferson Science Fellow of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine during the 2020-2021 term. He was an adviser to the Energy and Infrastructure Division of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Europe and Eurasia. In that role, he advised the Bureau on safeguarding the energy infrastructure of Western Balkan and South Caucasus nations from malign influences and cyberattacks.
Prof. Bandyopadhyay has authored and co-authored over 400 research publications and presented over 150 invited talks and colloquia across four continents. He has also authored/co-authored three classic textbooks that have taught the field of spintronics and quantum device theory to students across the world. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Physical Society (APS), the British Institute of Physics (IoP), the Electrochemical Society (ECS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).