Embedded control: Solid-state research aims at advanced devices

Researchers study unique properties of complex material systems at nanoscopic scale to improve semiconductor devices.


Oak Ridge, TN — Complex materials such as transition metal oxides and the cuprates rely on a fine balance of energies within their structures to create desirable macroscopic properties, such as colossal magnetoresistance (CMR) and high-temperature superconductivity. According to an article published online by Alexander E. Braun, Senior Editor at Control Engineering sister publication Semiconductor International, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are studying these effects to help improve existing semiconductor systems, such as spin valves, magnetoresistive random access memories (MRAM) or photovoltaics useful for embedded control systems.

Giant magnetoresistive effect research

Spatial confinement affects transport of charge carriers passing through a region of high resistance. (Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

The crux of the matter is the CMR effect, which originates in phase separation of crystal domains at the

nanometer scale

. The Oak Ridge researchers have shown that by spatially confining a phase-separated material, it is possible to harness not only the properties of the metallic regions in a structure, but also those of the coexisting insulating regions. The overall electronic characteristics of these devices can be vastly different from a bulk or thin-film device of the same material. Observing the CMR effect may make it possible to figure out exactly how these phase transitions and interactions actually feed and create the observed properties.
Computer hard drives and similar devices use the much smaller giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect. Having available material that is orders of magnitude more strongly affected by a magnetic field could have significant large-scale storage and device implications. The research is funded by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
C.G. Masi , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
Register here and scroll down to select your choice of eNewsletters free.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Make Big Data and Industrial Internet of Things work for you, 2017 Engineers' Choice Finalists, Avoid control design pitfalls, Managing IIoT processes
Engineering Leaders Under 40; System integration improving packaging operation; Process sensing; PID velocity; Cybersecurity and functional safety
Mobile HMI; PID tuning tips; Mechatronics; Intelligent project management; Cybersecurity in Russia; Engineering education; Road to IANA
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
click me