PhD thesis defense : Frequency modulation of Spin Torque Nano-Oscillators (STNOs) for wireless communication applications

On Monday, the 17th Of July 2017 at 12h00, Anike PURBAWATI from DRF/INAC/SPINTEC, will defend her PhD thesis entitled “Frequency modulation of Spin Torque Nano-Oscillators (STNOs) for wireless communication applications”

Place : Amphithéâtre Bergès – Grenoble INP-ENSE3 (site de GreEN-ER) 21 Avenue des Martyrs 38000 Grenoble

Spin Transfer Nano-Oscillators (STNOs) are a novel type of Radio Frequency (RF) oscillators that make use of the Spin Transfer Torque (STT) effect in a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) device to produce high-frequency auto-oscillations. STNOs are attractive for applications in wireless communications due to their nanometric size and their frequency tuning capabilities via either a dc current or an applied field. This frequency tuning permits to encode the information via frequency shift keying (FSK) by digital modulation of the current or applied field between two discrete values without the need of an external RF mixer, leading to potentially less complex RF components. In this thesis, the feasibility of the digital frequency modulation (frequency shift keying (FSK)) using in-plane magnetized MTJ STNOs has been studied. For this, the maximum modulation rate, up to which a signal can be modulated or the frequency can be shifted between two discrete values, is an important aspect that need to be characterized.
The characterization of the maximum modulation rate for in-plane magnetized MTJ STNOs has been studied via numerical macrospin simulation for different modulation configurations, i.e. modulation by a sinusoidal RF current and a sinusoidal RF field. It revealed that the maximum modulation rate under RF current modulation is given by the amplitude relaxation frequency fp of the STNO. Under RF field modulation, i.e. an RF field applied parallel to the easy axis, an enhanced modulation rate above fp can be achieved since the frequency is modulated directly via the field and not via the amplitude. This suggests an important strategy for the design of STNO-based wireless communications and to achieve high data rates. Besides numerical simulation, experimental studies of frequency shift keying (FSK) by current modulation in STNOs have been also demonstrated. The first demonstration is the FSK in standalone STNOs. The analysis confirmed that the FSK was successfully observed with a frequency shift around 200MHz (the frequency shift between ≈8.9 GHz and ≈9.1 GHz) at the modulation rate of 10Mbps. This modulation rate is however less than the upper limit, which is given by the relaxation frequency fp of the STNO as predicted in the numerical simulation, because of the relatively high phase noise of the device measured. In order to test the feasibility of the STNO within microwave systems, the FSK modulation of STNOs was performed on a printed circuit board (PCB) emitter. FSK with a frequency shift around 300MHz (the frequency shift between ≈9 GHz and ≈9.3 GHz) was observed with a modulation rate of 20 Mbps. The data rate here was limited by characteristics of the PCB emitter and not intrinsic to the STNO. The simulation and experiment studies of frequency modulation of STNOs demonstrate that the data rate of is adequate for wireless communication used in WSN. However, further improvements in materials and nanofabrication of STNOs are required to enhance the output power and improve the spectral characteristics of the oscillations to push the data rates to higher values with large frequency shift.

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