Director's Message

It is with pleasure that I present to you the first issue of Multiferroic Focus, the official newsletter published by the Engineering Research Center for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TANMS). TANMS recently completed its third year annual review with our sponsors, the National Science Foundation, and I am happy to report that TANMS passed with flying colors and has received its renewal for the next five years. 

During this last review meeting, TANMS researchers demonstrated a 1Kbit memory testbed containing both read and write functionality that was an order of magnitude superior to existing spin transfer torque STT systems. Over the last few summer months, our researchers have improved these numbers to two orders of magnitude superior to STT devices. These advancements provide a clear path towards TANMS five order of magnitude improvement goal. TANMS researchers also demonstrated modeling and experimental evidence of the first Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) multiferroic antenna (electrically small) concept well ahead of our 2016 schedule. In addition to this antenna testbed, TANMS provided testing results on a nanoscale multiferroic motor (i.e. size red blood cell) that can now manipulate particles at the micron level with voltage. 

I hope you share with me the excitement and optimism rooted in all of these important advancements. Our entire team of students, postdocs, faculty, and industrial members represent a unique ecosystem generating revolutionary new approaches to control magnetism on the small scale. TANMS aims to change the world with our discoveries in this next decade and we continue to progress closer toward this goal one step at a time. While the TANMS team has made great strides toward achieving TANMS’s objectives, substantial engineering work remains for our ecosystem to address. I hope all of you will join me in continuing this remarkable journey as we strive toward revolutionizing nanoscale electromagnetic devices.

Gregory P. Carman
TANMS Center Director

Research Highlight: TANMS Successfully Demonstrates 1-Kilobit MeRAM Testbed

by Pedram Khalili, 1-D Thrust Co-Leader

The past year saw the successful demonstration, by TANMS researchers, of a 1 kilobit magnetoelectric random access memory testbed (referred to as MeRAM for short). While still at a relatively small memory capacity, this was an important step both for TANMS and the wider research community, as it was the first array-level demonstration of voltage-controlled magnetic memory. These memory devices are essentially a new type of nonvolatile magnetic memory (MRAM), where for the first time, voltages (rather than electric currents) are used to write information into the bits. This leads to two important advantages when such devices are integrated into memory chips: First, the power dissipation goes down dramatically. In fact, TANMS has already demonstrated more than 10x lower power dissipation than the previous record among all exiting or emerging memory technologies. Secondly, and equally importantly, it increases density also by about an order of magnitude. This means that the magnetoelectric memory developed by our team can fit about 10 times as many bits in the same area on a chip, which significantly reduces cost and increases the chip capacity.

TANMS researchers have been working closely with the IAB members to study various aspects of this technology; exploring its scaling behavior, switching dynamics, and determining future development plans for it to be adopted in real-world applications. This has resulted in several joint publications between TANMS universities and IAB members, in particular HGST and Inston Inc, as well as other industrial collaborators. Many high-school and undergraduate students have also participated in these activities in TANMS, thereby gaining valuable early research experience while also becoming exposed to a fast-developing area of the semiconductor industry.

On the long term, we believe that the results of this work will go far beyond memory and data storage alone, and may in fact have a transformative effect on the electronics industry as a whole. In particular, we anticipate that the unique combination of ultralow power dissipation, high endurance, and low cost afforded by this technology will result in entirely new nonvolatile memory-intensive architectures in electronic systems, enabling system- and circuit-level innovations previously not possible with existing memory devices. Our TANMS team is excited to play a part in making this paradigm shift possible.

Education Highlights: TANMS Summer 2015 Research Experiences End on a High Note

On August 15th, TANMS celebrated the conclusion of its exciting and fun-filled summer programs.  This summer, 10 TANMS faculty and 13 graduate student researchers across three TANMS universities hosted and mentored a total of 14 undergraduate students, 2 high school teachers, and 10 high school students through a variety of hands-on research projects.  Program participants worked with their faculty and graduate mentors to design and implement individual research plans.  Weekly, participants and mentors were brought together during workshops and seminars that covered topics such as engineering design, engineering ethics, diversity and inclusion, career building and entrepreneurship.  Opportunities for students of all levels to interact over stimulating teambuilding socials allowed the high school students to gain invaluable guidance that they lacked at their schools and also allowed the undergraduate and graduate students to gain valuable leadership skills.

All programs ended on a high note with all students transported to TANMS headquarters at UCLA to deliver their final poster and oral presentations summarizing their research finding.  The presentations were to the entire TANMS community including faculty, graduate mentors, participants of other summer research programs at UCLA, as well as families and friends who are either present or on-line.  For the undergraduate students, final presentations took place over a two-day period and were evaluated by a

respected panel of judges.  Please join us in congratulating our first place winners, Brian Fu and Brian Lee from Team Sepulveda for their project titled “Shape and Location Optimization of Electrodes on Terfenol-D Memory Devices” and our second place winner, Alexandria Will-Cole from Team Chang, for her project titled “Integration of Dielectrics into Multilayer Ferromagnetic Thin Films for Enhanced Eddy Current Control”.  Overall, the summer of 2015 turned out to be a great experience where both program participants and mentors gained valuable skills and established long-lasting relationships.

Dominic Labanowski Elected as New Student Leadership Council President

Dominic Labanowski is a 4th year Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley under Professor Sayeef Salahuddin.  He is currently an active participant of the 2-D Thrust with research focusing on investigating magnetoelastic coupling near ferromagnetic resonance to understand how this interaction can best be used to improve the performance of the multiferroic antenna.

Dominic served as the vice-president of the TANMS Student Leadership Council (SLC) for the last two years and has made significant contributions to the drafting of the bylaws and implementation of procedures that ensure that the SLC is able to best represent the needs of the TANMS student body in a transparent and consistent fashion. Congratulations to Dominic for joining the TANMS Leadership Team as the new SLC president for 2015-16.

TANMS Postdoctoral Researcher Takes Flight 

Dr. Phuong Vu Ong, postdoctoral researcher under TANMS faculty, Professor Nicholas Kioussis at California State University, Northridge, has been hired by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a postdoctoral research associate.  Currently, his research focuses on exploring and understanding novel functionalities of complex materials for sustainable energy such as high ionic conduction and catalysis.  

Dr. Ong was an active participant of the 1-D Memory Thrust.  Overall, his research interest is simulation of materials at different scales from atom to continuum to provide guidelines for experiments and applications.  The research strategy is to combine predictive capability of quantum mechanical laws and power of high-performance computing for material discovery.

Shauna Robbennolt to Represent TANMS ERC at the 2015 Lynn Preston Perfect Pitch Competition!

The 2015 Lynn Preston Perfect Pitch Competition is a national event that brings together students across all 17 current NSF Engineering Research Centers.  The objective is simple, each student presents a single slide and delivers a 90-second “elevator pitch” that answers three questions – what real-life problem their research addressed, how they solved it in a unique way, and what impact it would have for society and in achieving their Center’s mission.  

On October 18th, 19 TANMS students from across all TANMS partner institutions competed in front of a panel of guest judges – Dan Akiu from GroupHI, Scott Davis from UCLA Office of Intellectual Property, Shiv Joshi from Nextgen Aeronautics, Bill Goodin from UCLA EE Industry Relations, and Azar Nazeri from UCLA Institute for Technology Advancement.  The students’ ideas ranged from creating technology that will prevent oil spills, to nanoscale revolutionary medical devices, to solutions that will counter the effects of heat waves, to unprecedented applications of antennas, and many others.  The scores were close, but in the end, Shauna Robbennolt, from Professor Sarah Tolbert’s lab won the competition with her idea of changing the future of computing with the magnetoelectric memory, a device that would be 10,000x more energy efficient than what is currently available on the market. 

Shauna Robbennolt graduated in 2011 with a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Dallas and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her thesis research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of magnetic nanomaterials with a particular emphasis on tailoring material properties to various applications. In addition to her scientific pursuits, she is also interested in areas such as international relations, political science and economics. She has been a part of TANMS since its foundation and her experience with TANMS has shown her the power of an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving.  Shauna will be representing TANMS ERC on October 28, 2016 in Washington D.C. to compete against 16 other students for the grand prize of $5,000.

Industry Highlights: Welcome to Our Newest IAB Members!

A warm welcome to Cummins Inc. and HGST Inc. for becoming the newest members of the TANMS Industrial Advisory Board.  We look forward to collaborating with the two companies and developing to a strong, long-lasting partnership!Cummins Inc., a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service diesel and natural gas engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems.

HGST innovates across a great breadth of data storage technologies to enable customized industry-leading solutions in the enterprise HDD SSD markets.  They are a global company with a worldwide R&D teams collaborating across ten sites in the U.S. and seven overseas, some of which have been providing HDD solutions for over 55 years. 

Congratulations to Inston!

Congratulations are in order for our IAB member INSTON, Inc.  INSTON was recently named a semi-finalist in Cisco System’s Innovation Grand Challenge.  They were one of 15 semi-finalists culled from more than 3,000 entries in over 100 countries!  We’re rooting for them to take 1st Place. 

TANMS Students Awarded Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship

A team of TANMS students, Zhi ‘Jackie’ Yao and Sidhant Tiwari, have been awarded the 2015 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship for their proposal “Bulk Acoustic Wave Resonators for Antenna Applications through Multiferroic Coupling.” The proposal is for their joint effort towards realizing a multiferroic antenna mediated by bulk acoustic wave resonance. Out of 146 submitted proposals, 35 finalist teams were chosen to present their proposal to Qualcomm in San Diego. From the finalists, 8 winning teams were selected and awarded $100,000 for their projects.