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Title: Spin-torque devices with hard axis initialization as Stochastic Binary Neurons

Employing the probabilistic nature of unstable nano-magnet switching has recently emerged as a path towards unconventional computational systems such as neuromorphic or Bayesian networks. In this letter, we demonstrate proof-of-concept stochastic binary operation using hard axis initialization of nano-magnets and control of their output state probability (activation function) by means of input currents. Our method provides a natural path towards addition of weighted inputs from various sources, mimicking the integration function of neurons. In our experiment, spin orbit torque (SOT) is employed to “drive” nano-magnets with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) -to their metastable state, i.e. in-plane hard axis. Next, the probability of relaxing into one magnetization state (+mi) or the other (−mi) is controlled using an Oersted field generated by an electrically isolated current loop, which acts as a “charge” input to the device. The final state of the magnet is read out by the anomalous Hall effect (AHE), demonstrating that the magnetization can be probabilistically manipulated and output through charge currents, closing the loop from charge-to-spin and spin-to-charge conversion. Based on these building blocks, a two-node directed network is successfully demonstrated where the status of the second node is determined by the probabilistic output of the previous node and a weighted connection between them. We have also studied the effects of various magnetic properties, such as magnet size and anisotropic field on the stochastic operation of individual devices through Monte Carlo simulations of Landau Lifshitz Gilbert (LLG) equation. The three-terminal stochastic devices demonstrated here are a critical step towards building energy efficient spin based neural networks and show the potential for a new application space.

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Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
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Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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