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Spectrum Analyzer Using Spintronic Radar Arrays



OBJECTIVE: Research and development of new ultra-fast spintronic radar detectors and spectrum analyzers based on arrays of metallic or metal/insulator nano-scale magnetic diodes. These novel devices have the potential to become practical microwave detectors for military applications. They can be scaled down to ultimate nanometer sizes, they have a very low power consumption, natural frequency selectivity, ability to process very noisy external signals and are not vulnerable to ionizing radiation.

DESCRIPTION: The proposed spintronic radar detectors and spectrum analyzers will be essential in future anti-radar and wireless interception and active interference (jamming) systems of ground combat vehicles. The objective of this project is to develop the theory of operation and the design of a novel ultra-fast spectrum analyzer and frequency detector based on randomized arrays of nano-sized spin-torque microwave diodes. The device can be used for anti-radar activities, counter-terrorist operations, military intelligence and other battlefield applications. As the result of this research and development effort, prototype nano-sized spintronic spectrum analyzers will be developed, tested and delivered to TARDEC. The operation of the proposed spintronic spectrum analyzer is based on the recently discovered spin-torque diode effect in magnetic multilayered nanostructures [1-4]. The spin-torque microwave diode (STMD) is nano-sized, naturally frequency-selective, radiation hard and could work in a passive regime with no power consumption. Required specifications are the following: capable of determining the carrier frequency of the incoming radar signals in less than 200 ns; an operational bandwidth of several GHz; frequency resolution better than 50 MHz; and tuneability from 3 to 20 GHz.

PHASE I: Develop theory of regular and randomized linear arrays of spintronic radar detectors and theory of correlation-based spectrum analysis of incoming microwave signals in such arrays. The first milestone will be the theoretical demonstration that the spectral analysis of the incoming signals in coupled arrays of STMD could be performed in less than 500 ns.

PHASE II: Use mathematical modeling and simulation to optimize the spectrum analyzers’ working characteristics, such as power sensitivity, frequency resolution and time interval of frequency analysis. The final milestone will be the optimized design of the device and delivery of a prototype spintronic radar array of 6 or more detectors, fabricated on a single chip, covering the frequency interval of 2 – 10 GHz.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Continue to improve the nanofabrication process, using the electron-beam lithography, to achieve 20 - 40 spintronic radar detectors on a single chip. Evaluate reliability across the microwave spectrum to assess power output levels sufficient for energy harvesting and various applications of interest to military and civilian markets. Spintronic devices are not sensitive to ionizing radiation and could be used in space and on a battlefield. Evaluate possible civilian applications in automotive industry, including ultra-fast side-impact radars and control of autonomous vehicles.


    • J.C. Sloncziewski, “Current-Driven Excitation of Magnetic Multilayers”, J. Magn. Magn. Mater. 159, L1 (1996).


    • . L. Berger, “Emission of Spin Waves by a Magnetic Multilayer Traversed by a Current”, Phys. Rev. B 54, 9353 (1996)


    • J.C. Sloncziewski, “Excitation of Spin Waves by an Electric Current”, J. Magn. Magn. Mater. 195, L261 (1999).


  • M. Tsoi et al., “Generation and Detection of Phase-Coherent Current-Driven Magnons in Magnetic Multilayers”, Nature 406, 46 (2000).

KEYWORDS: spintronics, radar detectors, metamaterials

  • TPOC-1: Dr. Elena Bankowski
  • Phone: 586-282-6433
  • Email:
  • TPOC-2: Dr. Thomas Meitzler
  • Phone: 586-282-5405
  • Email:
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