Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cheaper cell phones with better signal quality: World's most powerful nanoscale microwave oscillators developed

Date:
June 26, 2012
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Researchers have developed the world's most powerful nanoscale microwave oscillators. The new electron spin-based oscillators use a spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory or STT-RAM, which has great potential over other types of memory currently in use for both speed and power efficiency. The new oscillators could lead to mobile communication devices that are less expensive to manufacture and deliver a much better signal quality.

A team of UCLA researchers has created the most powerful high-performance nanoscale microwave oscillators in the world, a development that could lead to cheaper, more energy-efficient mobile communication devices that deliver much better signal quality.
Credit: Kurhan / Fotolia

A team of UCLA researchers has created the most powerful high-performance nanoscale microwave oscillators in the world, a development that could lead to cheaper, more energy-efficient mobile communication devices that deliver much better signal quality.

Today's cell phones, WiFi-enabled tablets and other electronic gadgets all use microwave oscillators, tiny devices that generate the electrical signals used in communications. In a cell phone, for example, the transmitter and receiver circuits contain oscillators that produce radio-frequency signals, which are then converted by the phone's antenna into incoming and outgoing electromagnetic waves.

Current oscillators are silicon-based and use the charge of an electron to create microwaves. The UCLA-developed oscillators, however, utilize the spin of an electron, as in the case of magnetism, and carry several orders-of-magnitude advantages over the oscillators commonly in use today.

UCLA's electron spin-based oscillators grew out of research at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This research focused on STT-RAM, or spin-transfer torque magnetoresistive random access memory, which has great potential over other types of memory in terms of both speed and power efficiency.

"We realized that the layered nanoscale structures that make STT-RAM such a great candidate for memory could also be developed for microwave oscillators for communications," said principal investigator and research co-author Kang L. Wang, UCLA Engineering's Raytheon Professor of Electrical Engineering and director of the Western Institute of Nanoelectronics (WIN).

The structures, called spin-transfer nano-oscillators, or STNOs, are composed of two distinct magnetic layers. One layer has a fixed magnetic polar direction, while the other layer's magnetic direction can be manipulated to gyrate by passing an electric current through it. This allows the structure to produce very precise oscillating microwaves.

"Previously, there had been no demonstration of a spin-transfer oscillator with sufficiently high output power and simultaneously good signal quality, which are the two main metrics of an oscillator -- hence preventing practical applications," said co-author Pedram Khalili, project manager for the UCLA-DARPA research programs in STT-RAM and non-volatile logic. "We have realized both these requirements in a single structure."

The SNTO was tested to show a record-high output power of close to 1 micro-watt, with a record narrow signal linewidth of 25 megahertz. Output power refers to the strength of the signal, and 1 micro-watt is the desired level for STNOs to be practical for applications. Also, a narrow signal linewidth corresponds to a higher quality signal at a given frequency. This means less noise and interference, for a cleaner voice and video signal. It also means more users can be accommodated onto a given frequency band.

In addition, the new nanoscale system is about 10,000-times smaller than the silicon-based oscillators used today. The nano-oscillators can easily be incorporated into existing integrated circuits (computer chips), as they are compatible with current design and manufacturing standards in the computer and electronic device industries. And the oscillators can be used in both analog (voice) and digital (data) communications, which means smart phones could take full advantage of them.

"For the past decade, we have been working to realize a new paradigm in nanoelectronics and nanoarchitectures," said Wang, who is also a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. "This has led to tremendous progress in memory research. And along those same lines, we believe these new STNOs are excellent candidates to succeed today's oscillators."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhongming Zeng, Pedram Khalili Amiri, Ilya N. Krivorotov, Hui Zhao, Giovanni Finocchio, Jian-Ping Wang, Jordan A. Katine, Yiming Huai, Juergen Langer, Kosmas Galatsis, Kang L. Wang, HongWen Jiang. High-Power Coherent Microwave Emission from Magnetic Tunnel Junction Nano-oscillators with Perpendicular Anisotropy. ACS Nano, 2012; 120611105915006 DOI: 10.1021/nn301222v

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Cheaper cell phones with better signal quality: World's most powerful nanoscale microwave oscillators developed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626092712.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2012, June 26). Cheaper cell phones with better signal quality: World's most powerful nanoscale microwave oscillators developed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626092712.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Cheaper cell phones with better signal quality: World's most powerful nanoscale microwave oscillators developed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120626092712.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins