Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Kaushik Roy

Committee Chair

Kaushik Roy

Committee Member 1

Anand Raghunathan

Committee Member 2

Byunghoo Jung

Committee Member 3

Dmitri E. Nikonov


Emerging spin-devices like magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ's), spin-valves and domain wall magnets (DWM) have opened new avenues for spin-based logic design. This work explored potential computing applications which can exploit such devices for higher energy-efficiency and performance. The proposed applications involve hybrid design schemes, where charge-based devices supplement the spin-devices, to gain large benefits at the system level. As an example, lateral spin valves (LSV) involve switching of nanomagnets using spin-polarized current injection through a metallic channel such as Cu. Such spin-torque based devices possess several interesting properties that can be exploited for ultra-low power computation. Analog characteristic of spin current facilitate non-Boolean computation like majority evaluation that can be used to model a neuron. The magneto-metallic neurons can operate at ultra-low terminal voltage of ∼20mV, thereby resulting in small computation power. Moreover, since nano-magnets inherently act as memory elements, these devices can facilitate integration of logic and memory in interesting ways. The spin based neurons can be integrated with CMOS and other emerging devices leading to different classes of neuromorphic/non-Von-Neumann architectures. The spin-based designs involve `mixed-mode' processing and hence can provide very compact and ultra-low energy solutions for complex computation blocks, both digital as well as analog. Such low-power, hybrid designs can be suitable for various data processing applications like cognitive computing, associative memory, and currentmode on-chip global interconnects. Simulation results for these applications based on device-circuit co-simulation framework predict more than ∼100x improvement in computation energy as compared to state of the art CMOS design, for optimal spin-device parameters.