KIST Announces Next Generation Ultra-low Power Memory Technology Using Quantum Materials


Recently, as artificial intelligence technology such as Chat-GPT has been used in various industries, the role of high-performance semiconductor devices for processing large amounts of information is growing, and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has published a study result that shows that ultra-low power memories can be made of quantum materials.

By applying voltage to a quantum material semiconductor device with a two-dimensional stacked structure, it was possible to effectively control the spin information of electrons, making it possible to read and write information at ultra-low power.

Unlike ordinary materials that have a three-dimensional structure, two-dimensional materials, which are typical quantum materials, can be easily separated into a single planar atomic layer, and show specific quantum mechanical properties. In this study, they developed for the first time a stacked semiconductor device with two-dimensional ferromagnetic layers that combines quantum materials with two different properties. When a low voltage of about 5V was applied to the laminated elements of two-dimensional ferromagnetic materials (Fe3-xGeTe2) and two-dimensional ferroelectric materials (In2Se3), the magnetic field, or the coercive force required to change the spin direction of the ferromagnetic material, could be reduced by more than 70%.

The researchers also discovered that structural changes in two-dimensional ferroelectric materials that occur when a voltage is applied can lead to changes in spin properties of adjacent two-dimensional ferromagnetic materials. In fact, the lattice of two-dimensional ferroelectric materials expands with the voltage, and the magnetic anisotropy of the ferromagnetic materials changes and the coercive force required to change the direction of the spin is greatly reduced. This means that very small voltage on the stacked structure of quantum materials can control the spin information of electrons even with a one-third of magnetic field intensity, which is a key technology for developing ultra-low power spin memories based on quantum materials.

Dr. Choi Jun-woo of KIST said, “By securing core technology for ultra-low-power next-generation memory using quantum materials, we will be able to maintain our technological superiority and competitiveness in for the semiconductor industries recently at risk.”