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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Stochasticity in the Switching of Nanodisks for Probabilistic Computing


Stochasticity in magnetic nanodevices is an essential characteristic for harnessing these devices to computing based on population coding or the building blocks of probabilistic computing, p-bits. A magnetic tunneling junction (MTJ) consisting of a patterned magnetic element is considered a promising computing unit in the concept of artificial neurons and p-bits. A comprehensive understanding of the stochasticity in the switching of patterned magnetic elements is crucial for realizing MTJ-based probabilistic computing technology. In the present work, the stochastic behavior in the switching process of a perpendicularly magnetized Co/Pt disk within an array was directly observed utilizing full-field soft X-ray microscopy. Within 50 repeated hysteretic cycles, the stochastic magnetization switching of individual Co/Pt disks within disk arrays is identified. We found that the stochasticity in the magnetization switching of disks considerably depends on the disk size. The stochasticity initially decreases as the disk radius gets bigger from 125 to 375 nm (region I), then increases with further enlarging the disk size to 625 nm (region II). The variance of thermal fluctuation relevant to the disk size and the multilevel switching within a disk are severely involved in the observed size-dependent stochasticity. This work provides the way for controlling the stochasticity in the switching of nanopatterned elements, which is a key aspect of MTJ-based probabilistic computing.

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