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Aalto’s first ERC Proof of Concept grant to Sebastiaan van Dijken

Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken received the grant for verification of the innovation potential of a new racetrack memory technology.

Memory technologies that are used in computers, smart phones, tablets, etc. can be coarsely divided into two classes: fast but volatile DRAMs (dynamic random access memory) and non-volatile flash memories.

Racetrack memory based on the controlled motion of magnetic domain walls is a promising new technology for next generation memories, because it combines the speed of DRAMs and the non-volatile properties of flash memories. One key drawback, however, is the required use of intense electric currents to move magnetic domain walls along narrow wires, which causes undesirable heat dissipation and considerable power losses. 

“With this funding we aim at exploring the empty technology space around a recent invention in our laboratory, namely the ability to drive magnetic domain walls using electric fields (i.e. voltages) rather than electric currents in ferroelectric-ferromagnetic bilayers”, tells Sebastiaan van Dijken.

“Since no electric currents are flowing through the insulating ferroelectric layer during prototype device operation, power consumption and heating are minimal. Moreover, electric-field control of magnetic domain wall motion in our experimental demonstrator is deterministic and completely reversible”, continues van Dijken.

Using this funding, time and money will be invested for obtaining IPR protection for this new technology, different ways for industrial collaboration will be investigated and contacts will be sought. A market analysis will also be performed and a commercialization roadmap and IPR strategy will be created. 

The ERC Proof of Concept funding aims at supporting ERC grant holders to establish the innovation potential of their idea during the pre-demonstration phase. This funding is granted to a researcher who already has received other ERC funding.

Contact information:

Sebastiaan van Dijken
sebastiaan.van.dijken(a)aalto.fi
Tel +358 50 3160969

Department of Applied Physics
Nanomagnetism and Spintronics Group

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