Chip Off the Old Block: Silicon Trick for Next-Gen Memory
Researchers have revealed details of a promising way to make a fundamentally different kind of computer memory chip. The device is a “memristor”, a long-hypothesised but only recently demonstrated electronic component. A memristor’s electronic properties make it suitable for both for computing and for far faster, denser memory.
Researchers at the European Materials Research Society meeting now say it can be made much more cheaply, using current semiconductor techniques. There has been significant interest in memristors since the first prototype was unveiled in 2008, not least because it took 37 years for the device to make it from theoretical proposition to reality. The history-dependent nature of their electrical properties would make memristors able to carry out calculations, but most interest has focused on developing them for memory applications, to replace the widespread “flash” solid-state memory of USB sticks and memory cards.