Friday, May 25, 2012
Memristors offer dense, fast memory
BBC reports: [edited]
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 both for computing and for far faster, denser memory.
The name is a portmanteau of memory and resistor, because its resistance changes depending on how much current has passed through it; it "remembers" that value even after power is turned off.
The energy required to switch the state of [memristors] is a hundredth of that in existing flash memory, and significantly faster.
"Flash memory devices switch at 10,000 nanoseconds (billionths of a second) or so, and in our device we can't measure how fast it is," Dr Kenyon said.
"Our equipment only goes down to 90 nanoseconds. It's at least as fast as that and probably faster."