Project: Ultra Wide Band Spin Torque Oscillators for Microwave Applications

There is no doubt that nanoelectronics and use of nanoengineered semiconductor, magnetic and insulating materials and structures will be the driving force for the micro- and nanoelectronics industry of the 21st century. The current value of the the market is estimated to over €200B, and analysts predict that the worldwide market will be close to €400B in 2011. _x000D__x000D_A large part of the growth comes from wireless devices such as mobile phones, WLAN modules for personal computers, and Bluetooth devices for short range communication. The market value for the semiconductor content in mobile phones is currently estimated to about €30B. Rapid growth also occurs in more emerging market such as vehicle radar. The use of long range warning systems in cars will increase in the coming years, and the market value is estimated to grow to €16B in 2010. Future legislation is furthermore expected to force car manufacturers to integrate radar systems into all new vehicles in the future. However, contemporary oscillator designs in the GHz frequency range are a serious bottleneck for lowered cost and increased functionality. Frequencies range from 1-5 GHz in cell phones and wireless networks, to medium frequencies (5-25 GHz) for space, military, civil radar, radio links, and instrumentation applications, up to very high frequencies for ultra high speed radio links (IEEE 802.15.3c, 60 GHz, 2-4Gb/s) and vehicle radar (77 GHz)._x000D__x000D_In future mobile phones, chip manufacturers foresee a total of 13 different oscillators being used to cover all current and future communication standards. The present situation with individual chips handling separate radio standards is rapidly becoming impractical and will soon be a serious roadblock to one of the largest European industries, represented by e.g. Ericsson, Nokia, ST Microelectronics and many others. If oscillator chips serving several radio standards could be made available, the consumer would benefit from lower overall cost, increased system reliability due to reduced system complexity, and longer battery life due to significantly reduced power consumption. The oscillator technology researched and developed within the SpinWave project has the potential to reduce the number of oscillators from 13 to a single unit._x000D__x000D_Ultra broadband GHz oscillators, used in a wide range of critical applications (space, military, radio links, instrumentation) still suffer from very high cost typically ranging from €200 to €2000 per unit depending on frequency range and phase noise performance. Several European companies develop microwave systems and sub-systems in this frequency range and would benefit tremendously from a new cheaper and manufacturable core technology._x000D__x000D_Finally, by 2012, European car and truck manufacturers, such as Volvo AB, would like to combine a total of eight short range radar devices on a single car and up to 20 different radar devices on their largest trucks. Because of the present prohibitive cost for radar devices this is economically not viable with today’s MMIC solutions. The SpinWave project will provide a means to shrink and simplify radar systems for cars._x000D__x000D_The classical oscillator is an electronic circuit that has not seen major innovation since the 1960s. Contemporary wireless devices generally utilize a classical inductor-capacitor (LC) circuit where an inductor is lithographically defined on the surface of a microchip. This inductor defines the characteristics of the oscillator and in turn the characteristics of the inductor are defined by its size and shape. This means that an inductor can not be shrunk as its surrounding microelectronic devices (e.g. transistors) become smaller. The inductor is thus a bottleneck for further miniaturization and hampers progress in oscillator development._x000D__x000D_The core technology of our SpinWave proposal does away with the inductor, lends itself to on-chip integration and continued miniaturization, while delivering promising phase noise performance over an extremely wide frequency range. Combining these advantages, a signal generator can be realized, with a wide operating frequency range and without any of the limitations of the classical oscillator circuit. However, this novel technology also has its challenges. The output power is still below the necessary requirements and both frequency stability, and frequency control need to be better understood and optimized._x000D__x000D_The SpinWave Ps are in need of sharing and combining knowledge in order to set the pace for future high-tech products emanating within these markets. The Eurostar Program fits perfectly with the Ps’ interest to merge forces and bring a novel oscillator technology out of the research lab and into the market._x000D_

Acronym SPINWAVE (Reference Number: 4411)
Duration 01/12/2008 - 30/11/2011
Project Topic The project will develop and commercialize a novel oscillator technology covering frequencies from 1 to 100 GHz. It brings together two young SMEs, experts in the core technology, and a well established microwave SME with market knowledge, manufacturing know-how and distribution channels.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The project has completed measurements of an STO (Spin Torque Oscillator) demonstrator and a comparison was made with its design specifications. It is found that the theory is matching the measurement results pretty well. We attain a larger bandwidth and much larger modulation bandwidth than specified with the STO. The output power of the STO is as expected, while the signal quality needs to be significantly improved. The projects biggest accomplishment is that we managed to package the STO technology in a form factor that is acceptable to the mass industry, away from research laboratory setups with large instruments.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 1

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 NanOsc AB Coordinator Sweden
3 SpinRoc SAS Partner France
3 Sivers IMA AB Partner Sweden