Nav: Home

A current map for improving circuit design

March 02, 2020

A practical method for mapping the flow of a current in devices with complex geometries that could be used to optimize circuit design has been developed at KAUST.

A traditional high-school physics experiment is to place iron filings on a piece of paper above a permanent magnet. The small metal particles will arrange themselves into a series of lines connecting the two ends, or poles, of the magnet. This enables students to visualize the otherwise invisible field lines that mediate magnetic attraction and repulsion.

Achieving this same type of map for the flow of an electrical current is particularly important in tiny electronic components. These components can have odd geometric arrangements, a result of the need for each element of the device to be packed into as small a space as possible. This means the current does not necessarily flow in a homogenous way.

Senfu Zhang and Xixiang Zhang, working with colleagues from KAUST, China and the United States, have now devised a method for visualizing the magnitude and direction of current flow through a magnetic thin film.

Several experimental methods have previously been developed to map current density in electronic materials. But these only do so indirectly, measuring stray fields rather than the currents themselves. Furthermore, they can be very expensive, or work only at very low temperatures. Computer simulations offer a cheaper alternative; however, they tend to oversimplify actual devices, ignoring nonuniformities or cracks in the material.

Instead, Zhang's team directly mapped the nonuniform electrical current distribution in layered platinum, cobalt and tantalum using the existence of so-called skyrmions. These "magnetic bubbles" can be imaged by a technique known as magneto-optical Kerr microscopy, which measures changes in the intensity and polarization of light reflected from a surface as a result of magnetic disturbances.

The skyrmions appear as round bubbles in the microscope images. "We found that when we passed a current through the material, only the front end of the bubbles moved forward, forming narrow, parallel strip domains," explains Senfu Zhang. The researchers showed that it was simple to extract the current flow from the growth direction of these patterns.

"This approach is not suitable for use in an actual device because it requires the deposition of Pt/Co/Ta on the device, but it is useful in the design phase," says Zhang. "Knowing the direction and magnitude of the electric current in each part of the device helps improve the design and performance."
-end-


King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

Related Cheaper Alternative Articles:

UQ tech could offer 'faster, cheaper and mobile' COVID-19 diagnosis
Technology that helps to quickly extract and analyse genetic material could be used for cheap, accurate and mobile COVID-19 testing, including at airports and remote testing centres.
Making biofuels cheaper by putting plants to work
One strategy to make biofuels more competitive is to make plants do some of the work themselves.
Faster, cheaper tests for myopia possible
The world's most common vision problem myopia or short/near sightedness, which causes damage to the eye and even blindness, just got easier to assess.
A cheaper way to scale up atomic layer deposition
Chemical engineers at EPFL have developed a new method for atomic layer deposition, a technique commonly used in high-quality microelectronics.
Promising discovery could lead to a better, cheaper solar cell
McGill University researchers have gained tantalizing new insights into the properties of perovskites, one of the world's most promising materials in the quest to produce a more efficient, robust and cheaper solar cell.
Newly created magnets are cheaper, more effective and 'smarter'
Ferromagnets, or more precisely, magnets -- are extremely demanded materials in modern electronics.
Chemicals for pharmaceuticals could be made cheaper and greener by new catalysts
High value chemicals used to make pharmaceuticals could be made much cheaper and quicker thanks to a series of new catalysts made by scientists at the University of Warwick in collaboration with GoldenKeys High-Tech Co., Ltd. in China.
Preventing climate change cheaper than dealing with its damage
World leaders need to urgently accelerate efforts to prevent 'profound, if not catastrophic' climate change in future, a distinguished group of scientists has warned.
Insects inspire greener, cheaper membranes for desalination
Insect-inspired design principles lead to first-ever water-repellent membranes made from water-wet materials.
Promising material could lead to faster, cheaper computer memory
Currently, information on a computer is encoded by magnetic fields, a process that requires substantial energy and generates waste heat.
More Cheaper Alternative News and Cheaper Alternative Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.