Spinelectronics is a very rapidly expanding area of R&D which merges magnetism and electronics (Nobel Prize 2007). Since the discovery of giant magneto-resistance (GMR) in 1988, several breakthroughs have further boosted this field [spin-valves 1990, tunnel magneto-resistance (TMR) 1995, spin-transfer 1996, voltage controlled magnetic properties 2004]. The phenomenon of spin-transfer is particularly attractive both from fundamental and applied view points. It provides a new way to manipulate the magnetization of magnetic nanostructures by a spin-polarized current. Spinelectronics has found applications in hard disk drives (1998) and more recently in nonvolatile standalone memories (MRAM ¼ Magnetic Random Access Memory).
The spin-transfer phenomenon provides a new write scheme in MRAM, yielding a much better scalability of these devices towards the 22 nm node. Furthermore, besides MRAMs, hybrid complementary metaloxide- semiconductor (CMOS)/magnetic technology can yield a totally new approach in the way electronic devices are designed. Most CMOS devices such as microprocessors are based on the so-called Von Neumann architecture in which logic and memory are separate components. The unique set of characteristics combined within magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs): cyclability, switching speed, scalability, makes it possible to conceive novel electronic systems in which logic and memory are intimately combined in non-volatile logic components (concept of non-volatile CPU).