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Prof J J W A Robinson

Centralized computing and data storage facilities consume over 3% of global electricity with nearly two thirds spent on cooling. The digital economy increasingly requires denser, faster, and more energy efficient data processing, but heat-dissipating ohmic losses limit further performance improvements. Large-scale computing infrastructures already require substantial cooling for hundreds of Kelvin and so refrigeration is an acceptable requisite. There is therefore an urgent requirement to develop electronic materials and devices that are more energy efficient but can be produced at a lower cost with a high level of precision. Understanding how to control the processing of new materials requires accurate measurements of their structural and electronic structures, optoelectronic and transport properties, and device-related properties.

The course begins by addressing the need to develop novel materials and devices for memory and logic processing in information communication technologies (ICTs) with a view of optimising or replacing semiconductor transistor-based logic with new materials and device concepts. State-of-the-art techniques to characterise the performance of materials and devices will then be reviewed. Finally, the course introduces the field of spintronics, which targets radically new concepts for memory and logic in ICTs, offering the potential for massive gains in performance and energy efficiency over conventional semiconductor memory and logic. Concepts including spin-currents, spin-injection, spin accumulation and spin-detection, as well as spin-dependent tunnelling, will be highlighted.  

This lecture course will cover:

  • An outline for why new materials are required for transistor technologies
  • An introduction to Micro Electromechanical Systems (MEMS)
  • Characterisation techniques relevant to MEMS and transistor devices
  • Characterisation of magnetic materials
  • An introduction to spin-electronics
  • An introduction to electron tunneling