HP Researchers Disclose New Advances in Memristor Technology

By Ashok Bindra May 16, 2011

Labeled as the fourth passive element, memristor or memory resistor, is seen as a promising future memory technology to compete against the entrenched Flash and traditional DRAM memory technologies. However, progress has been slow due to lack of understanding of the physical processes occurring at the nanoscale structures.

A joint paper by researchers from Hewlett-Packard Labs and the University of California in Santa Barbara, published in Nanotechnology journal, discloses new advances and better understanding of the miniscule structures of memristor. Thus, bringing it closer to reality, according to the researchers.  

Combining X-ray scanning technology with advanced modeling and simulation, researchers have been able to better correlate memristor’s electrical characteristics with local atomic structure, chemistry and temperature. As a result, the researchers have been able to understand how heat builds up at the nanoscale level as current passes through this structure. In reality, the scientists discovered that the current in the device flows in a 100-nm channel within the device. And the passage of this current creates heat that changes the titanium dioxide structure, which is surrounding the conducting channel, from a conducting to a non-conducting state.

Speaking to BBC News’ science & technology reporter Jason Palmer, HP Labs lead scientist and memristor discoverer Stanley Williams said that with understanding of the nm-scale structures of memristor and knowing precisely where heat is deposited will help to further advance future engineering efforts. He compared his work to that of Thomas Edison, who took over 1,000 attempts before arriving at a working light bulb, wrote Palmer.

"Without this key information about memristors, we are in Edison mode, where we just guess and modify the device at random," Williams told Palmer.

In commenting on the new advances in memristor technology, Williams added, "With the information that we gained from the present study, we now know that we can design memristors that can be used for multi-level storage - that is, instead of just storing one bit in one device, we may be able to store as many as four bits."


Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Consumer Privacy in the Digital Era: Three Trends to Watch

By: Special Guest    1/18/2018

Digital advertising has exploded in recent years, with the latest eMarketer data forecasting $83 billion in revenue this year and continued growth on …

Read More

CES 2018: Terabit Fiber - Closer Than We Think

By: Doug Mohney    1/17/2018

One of the biggest challenges for 5G and last mile 10 Gig deployments is not raw data speeds, but middle mile and core networks. The wireless industry…

Read More

10 Benefits of Drone-Based Asset Inspections

By: Frank Segarra    1/15/2018

Although a new and emerging technology, (which is still evolving), in early 2018, most companies are not aware of the possible benefits they can achie…

Read More

VR Could Change Entertainment Forever

By: Special Guest    1/11/2018

VR could change everything from how we play video games to how we interact with our friends and family. VR has the power to change how we consume all …

Read More

Making Connections - The Value of Data Correlation

By: Special Guest    1/5/2018

The app economy is upon us, and businesses of all stripes are moving to address it. In this age of digital transformation, businesses rely on applicat…

Read More