Memristors in the picture

Update 2: Memristors are coming to market for real. And see this 6-minute video guide to memristors.

Update: According to this, “H.P. now has working 3-nanometer memristors that can switch on and off in about a nanosecond, or a billionth of a second. … could have a competitor to flash memory in three years that would have a capacity of 20 gigabytes a square centimeter”

LINK to Thomas Kraemer’s visualization of the mathematical relationship between four circuit elements (resistor, capacitor, inductor and memristor) and four circuit quantities (voltage, current, charge and magnetic flux).

According to Sally Adee

Here is what you need to remember: one, a magnetic interaction is not necessary for memristance. Two, in nonlinear circuit elements, memristance is not the same thing as nonlinear resistance. Three, because no combination of passive devices can reproduce the properties of a memristor, memristance is a fundamental circuit quantity.

According to ACM TechNews

The memory resistor, or memristor, could enable chip manufacturers to continue to shrink the size of chips while increasing their power. Memristors are passive elements, which means they cannot introduce energy into a circuit but rely on being integrated into circuits that contain active elements, such as transistors. A circuit with both transistors and memristors could provide enhanced functionality with fewer components, minimizing chip area and power consumption. Hewlett-Packard Laboratories researchers have fabricated and demonstrated a hybrid memristor/transistor circuit for the first time. The researchers demonstrated conditional programming of a nanomemristor by the hybrid circuit, proving that the same elements in a circuit can be configured to act as logic, signal routing, and memory. Routing a logic operation’s output signal back into a memristor enables the circuit to reconfigure itself, creating the possibility of self-programming circuits. “It actually takes at least a dozen transistors to mimic the electrical properties of a single memristor,” says Hewlett-Packard’s Stan Williams. “Thus, it may be possible to continue the equivalent of Moore’s law for a couple of generations, not by making transistors smaller, but by replacing some subset of them with memristors.”

According to R. Stanley Williams

memristance is an intrinsic property of any electronic circuit. […] But the scales at which electronic devices have been built for most of the past two centuries have prevented experimental observation of the effect. […] memristance obeys an inverse square law: memristance is a million times as important at the nanometer scale as it is at the micrometer scale, and it’s essentially unobservable at the millimeter scale and larger. As we build smaller and smaller devices, memristance is becoming more noticeable and in some cases dominant. […] Memristance has been hidden in plain sight all along. But in spite of all the clues, our finding the memristor was completely serendipitous.

According to Justin Mullins

“Memcapacitors may be even more useful than memristors,” says Chua, “because they don’t have any resistance.” In theory at least, a memcapacitor could store data without dissipating any energy at all. Mighty handy – whatever you want to do with them. Williams agrees. In fact, his team is already on the case, producing a first prototype memcapacitor earlier this year, a result that he aims to publish soon. “We haven’t characterised it yet,” he says.

See also the “The magic peanut butter and jelly model of memristive electronic systems“.

More blog entries on Computing.


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