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The spatiotemporal nature of neuronal behavior in spiking neural networks (SNNs) makes SNNs promising for edge applications that require high energy efficiency. To realize SNNs in hardware, spintronic neuron implementations can bring advantages of scalability and energy efficiency. Domain wall (DW)-based magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) devices are well suited for probabilistic neural networks given their intrinsic integrate-and-fire behavior with tunable stochasticity. Here, we present a scaled DW-MTJ neuron with voltage-dependent firing probability. The measured behavior was used to simulate a SNN that attains accuracy during learning compared to an equivalent, but more complicated, multi-weight DW-MTJ device. The validation accuracy during training was also shown to be comparable to an ideal leaky integrate and fire device. However, during inference, the binary DW-MTJ neuron outperformed the other devices after Gaussian noise was introduced to the Fashion-MNIST classification task. This work shows that DW-MTJ devices can be used to construct noise-resilient networks suitable for neuromorphic computing on the edge.more » « lessFree, publicly-accessible full text available June 26, 2024
In neuromorphic computing, artificial synapses provide a multi‐weight (MW) conductance state that is set based on inputs from neurons, analogous to the brain. Herein, artificial synapses based on magnetic materials that use a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) and a magnetic domain wall (DW) are explored. By fabricating lithographic notches in a DW track underneath a single MTJ, 3–5 stable resistance states that can be repeatably controlled electrically using spin‐orbit torque are achieved. The effect of geometry on the synapse behavior is explored, showing that a trapezoidal device has asymmetric weight updates with high controllability, while a rectangular device has higher stochasticity, but with stable resistance levels. The device data is input into neuromorphic computing simulators to show the usefulness of application‐specific synaptic functions. Implementing an artificial neural network (NN) applied to streamed Fashion‐MNIST data, the trapezoidal magnetic synapse can be used as a metaplastic function for efficient online learning. Implementing a convolutional NN for CIFAR‐100 image recognition, the rectangular magnetic synapse achieves near‐ideal inference accuracy, due to the stability of its resistance levels. This work shows MW magnetic synapses are a feasible technology for neuromorphic computing and provides design guidelines for emerging artificial synapse technologies.