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A radically different approach led to best paper award

Ana Rusu and Dagur Ingi Albertsson.
Published Jun 22, 2021

Hello there, Ana Rusu and Dagur Ingi Albertsson! You have co-authored the paper “A Magnetic Field-to-Digital Converter Employing a Spin-Torque Nano-Oscillator” (together with Johan Åkerman at the University of Gothenburg), which has been awarded Best Paper of the Year 2020 by T-NANO. Congratulations!

Can you tell us a bit about the paper?

“In this paper, we propose a novel magnetic field sensing system based on emerging spintronic oscillators. Spintronic oscillators are nanoscale, current controlled high frequency devices, which respond to changes in the magnetic field by adjusting their operating frequency. These characteristics offer the opportunity of using them as magnetic field sensors. We have exploited this property in combination with time-based analog-to-digital conversion technique and developed a magnetic field-to-digital converter, which opens the potential for developing future hybrid spintronics-CMOS sensing systems.”

What do you think set your paper apart from the competition and made it the best paper?

“Using spintronic oscillators as magnetic field sensors have been previously proposed in the literature. However, our approach is radically different since it integrates the spintronic oscillator with CMOS interfacing circuits, allowing a greatly simplified architecture. Our solution is largely based on CMOS digital circuits, which offer the advantages of technology scaling, small area and low power consumption. We believe that the unique combination of the emerging spintronic oscillator technology with recent cutting edge CMOS circuit design techniques is what set our paper apart.”

What are you working on at the moment?

“In collaboration with the applied physics group at the University of Gothenburg, we continue exploring other potential applications of spintronic oscillators. Unconventional computing based on coupled oscillator networks, with applications such as pattern recognition and optimization problems, have recently gained renewed attention from the research community. Specifically, we are currently exploring the possibility of using a network of spintronic oscillators to solve hard combinatorial optimization problems such as the widely known Travelling Salesman problem .”

What have been the best thing (except getting this award) about working together on this paper?

“Combining our group’s extensive experience on analog-to-digital conversion techniques with recently developed knowledge on spintronic oscillator technology through the collaboration with Prof. Johan Åkerman from the applied physics group at the University of Gothenburg.”

T-NANO Best Paper of the Year 2020 Award