The quest for novel low-dissipation devices is one of the most critical for the future of semiconductor technology and nano-systems. The development of a low-power, universal memory will enable a new paradigm of non-volatile computation. Here we consider STT-RAM as one of the emerging candidates for low-power non-volatile memory. We show different configurations for STT memory and demonstrate strategies to optimize key performance parameters such as switching current and energy. The energy and scaling limits of STT-RAM are discussed, leading us to argue that alternative writing mechanisms may be required to achieve ultralow power dissipation, a necessary condition for direct integration with CMOS at the gate level for non-volatile logic purposes. As an example, we discuss the use of the giant spin Hall effect as a possible alternative to induce magnetization reversal in magnetic tunnel junctions using pure spin currents. Further, we concentrate on magnetoelectric effects, where electric fields are used instead of spin-polarized currents to manipulate the nanomagnets, as another candidate solution to address the challenges of energy efficiency and density. The possibility of an electric-field-controlled magnetoelectric RAM as a promising candidate for ultralow-power non-volatile memory is discussed in the light of experimental data demonstrating voltage-induced switching of the magnetization and reorientation of the magnetic easy axis by electric fields in nanomagnets.
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