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Memristor is a contraction of “memory resistor,” because that is exactly its

function: to remember its history. A memristor is a two-terminal device whose resistance
depends on the magnitude and polarity of the voltage applied to it and the length of time
that voltage has been applied. When you turn off the voltage, the memristor remembers
its most recent resistance until the next time you turn it on, whether that happens a day
later or a year later.
A memristor is a resistor with memory; it’s a device which changes its resistance
depending upon how much electrical charge flow through them.

What is it?

As its name implies, the memristor can "remember" how much current has passed
through it. And by alternating the amount of current that passes through it, a memristor
can also become a one-element circuit component with unique properties. Most notably,
it can save its electronic state even when the current is turned off, making it a great
candidate to replace today's flash memory.

Memristors will theoretically be cheaper and far faster than flash memory, and
allow far greater memory densities. They could also replace RAM chips as we know
them, so that, after you turn off your computer, it will remember exactly what it was
doing when you turn it back on, and return to work instantly. This lowering of cost and
consolidating of components may lead to affordable, solid-state computers that fit in your
pocket and run many times faster than today's PCs.

Someday the memristor could spawn a whole new type of computer, thanks to its
ability to remember a range of electrical states rather than the simplistic "on" and "off"
states that today's digital processors recognize. By working with a dynamic range of data
states in an analog mode, memristor-based computers could be capable of far more
complex tasks than just shuttling ones and zeroes around.

An array of 17 purpose-built oxygen-doped titanium dioxide memristors built at HP Labs
, imaged by an atomic force microscope The wires are about 50 nm, or 150 atoms, wide.
Electric current through the memristors shifts the oxygen ions, causing a gradual and
persistent change in electrical resistance

The overview of all memory

1).Resistor 2). Capacitor 3). Inductor 4) Memristor



2.1 History

Memristor theory was formulated and named by Leon Chua in a 1971 paper. Chua
extrapolated the conceptual symmetry between the resistor, inductor, and capacitor, and
inferred that the memristor is a similarly fundamental device. Other scientists had already
used fixed nonlinear flux-charge relationships, but Chua's theory introduces generality.

1971: The theory of the

2008: HP has a working
memristor prototype

1960s: Resistance
End of 1990s: Research on resistance
switching switching

Life Cycle of Memristor

The memristor is formally defined as a two-terminal element in which the

magnetic flux Φm between the terminals is a function of the amount of electric charge q
that has passed through the device. Each memristor is characterized by its memristance
function describing the charge-dependent rate of change of flux with charge.


Noting from FARADAY'S LAW OF INDUCTION that magnetic flux is simply

the time integral of voltage, and charge is the time integral of current, we may write the
more convenient form

It can be inferred from this that memristance is simply charge-dependent

resistance. If M(q(t)) is a constant, then we obtain OHM'S LAW R(t) = V(t)/ I(t). If
M(q(t)) is nontrivial, however, the equation is not equivalent because q(t) and M(q(t)) will
vary with time. Solving for voltage as a function of time we obtain

This equation reveals that memristance defines a linear relationship between

current and voltage, as long as charge does not vary. Of course, nonzero current implies
time varying charge. Alternating Current, however, may reveal the linear dependence in
circuit operation by inducing a measurable voltage without net charge movement—as
long as the maximum change in q does not cause much change in M.

Furthermore, the memristor is static if no current is applied. If I(t) = 0, we find

V(t) = 0 and M(t) is constant. This is the essence of the memory effect.

The power consumption characteristic recalls that of a resistor, I2R.

As long as M(q(t)) varies little, such as under alternating current, the memristor
will appear as a resistor. If M(q(t)) increases rapidly, however, current and power
consumption will quickly stop.

2.2 Magnetic Flux in a Passive Device

In circuit theory, magnetic flux Φm typically relates to FARADAY'S LAW OF

INDUCTION, which states that the voltage in terms of energy gained around a loop
(electromotive force) equals the negative derivative of the flux through the loop:

This notion may be extended by analogy to a single passive device. If the circuit
is composed of passive devices, then the total flux is equal to the sum of the flux
components due to each device. For example, a simple wire loop with low resistance will
have high flux linkage to an applied field as little flux is "induced" in the opposite
direction. Voltage for passive devices is evaluated in terms of energy lost by a unit of

Observing that Φm is simply equal to the integral of the potential drop between two
points, we find that it may readily be calculated, for example by an operational amplifier
configured as an integrator.

Two unintuitive concepts are at play:

• Magnetic flux is generated by a resistance in opposition to an applied field or

electromotive force. In the absence of resistance, flux due to constant EMF
increases indefinitely. The opposing flux induced in a resistor must also increase
indefinitely so their sum remains finite.
• Any appropriate response to applied voltage may be called "magnetic flux."

The upshot is that a passive element may relate some variable to flux without
storing a magnetic field. Indeed, a memristor always appears instantaneously as a resistor.

As shown above, assuming non-negative resistance, at any instant it is dissipating power
from an applied EMF and thus has no outlet to dissipate a stored field into the circuit.
This contrasts with an inductor, for which a magnetic field stores all energy originating in
the potential across its terminals, later releasing it as an electromotive force within the

2.3 Physical Restrictions On M(Q)

An applied constant voltage potential results in uniformly increasing Φm.

Numerically, infinite memory resources, or an infinitely strong field, would be required
to store a number which grows arbitrarily large. Three alternatives avoid this physical

• M(q) approaches zero, such that Φm = ∫M(q)dq = ∫M(q(t))I dt remains bounded but
continues changing at an ever-decreasing rate. Eventually, this would encounter
some kind of quantization and non-ideal behavior.
• M(q) is cyclic, so that M(q) = M(q − Δq) for all q and some Δq, e.g. sin2(q/Q).
• The device enters hysteresis once a certain amount of charge has passed through,
or otherwise ceases to act as a memristor.

2.4 Operation As A Switch

For some memristors, applied current or voltage will cause a great change in
resistance. Such devices may be characterized as switches by investigating the time and
energy that must be spent in order to achieve a desired change in resistance. Here we will
assume that the applied voltage remains constant and solve for the energy dissipation
during a single switching event. For a memristor to switch from Ron to Roff in time Ton to
Toff, the charge must change by ΔQ = Qon−Qoff.

To arrive at the final expression, substitute V=I(q)M(q), and then ∫dq/V = ∆Q/V for
constant V. This power characteristic differs fundamentally from that of a metal oxide
semiconductor transistor, which is a capacitor-based device. Unlike the transistor, the
final state of the memristor in terms of charge does not depend on bias voltage.

The type of memristor described by Williams ceases to be ideal after switching

over its entire resistance range and enters hysteresis, also called the "hard-switching
regime." Another kind of switch would have a cyclic M(q) so that each off-on event
would be followed by an on-off event under constant bias. Such a device would act as a
memristor under all conditions, but would be less practical.


3.1 Titanium dioxide memristor

Interest in the memristor revived in 2008 when an experimental solid state version
was reported by R. Stanley Williams of Hewlett Packard. A solid-state device could not
be constructed until the unusual behavior of nanoscale materials was better understood.
The device neither uses magnetic flux as the theoretical memristor suggested, nor stores
charge as a capacitor does, but instead achieves a resistance dependent on the history of
current using a chemical mechanism.

The HP device is composed of a thin (50 nm) titanium dioxide film between two 5
nm thick electrodes, one Ti, the other Pt. Initially, there are two layers to the titanium
dioxide film, one of which has a slight depletion of oxygen atoms. The oxygen vacancies
act as charge carriers, meaning that the depleted layer has a much lower resistance than
the non-depleted layer. When an electric field is applied, the oxygen vacancies drift (see
Fast ion conductor), changing the boundary between the high-resistance and low-
resistance layers. Thus the resistance of the film as a whole is dependent on how much
charge has been passed through it in a particular direction, which is reversible by
changing the direction of current. Since the HP device displays fast ion conduction at
nanoscale, it is considered a nano-ionic device.[

Memristance is displayed only when both the doped layer and depleted layer
contribute to resistance. When enough charge has passed through the memristor that the
ions can no longer move, the device enters hysteresis. It ceases to integrate q=∫Idt but
rather keeps q at an upper bound and M fixed, thus acting as a resistor until current is

3.2 Spin Memristive Systems

A fundamentally different mechanism for memristive behavior has been proposed

by Yuriy V. Pershin and Massimiliano Di Ventra in their paper "Spin memristive
systems". The authors show that certain types of semiconductor spintronic structures
belong to a broad class of memristive systems as defined by Chua and Kang. The
mechanism of memristive behavior in such structures is based entirely on the electron
spin degree of freedom which allows for a more convenient control than the ionic
transport in nanostructures. When an external control parameter (such as voltage) is
changed, the adjustment of electron spin polarization is delayed because of the diffusion
and relaxation processes causing a hysteresis-type behavior. This result was anticipated in
the study of spin extraction at semiconductor/ferro magnet interfaces, but was not
described in terms of memristive behavior. On a short time scale, these structures behave
almost as an ideal memristor. This result broadens the possible range of applications of
semiconductor spintronics and makes step forward in future practical applications of the
concept of memristive systems.

3.3 Manganite Memristive Systems

Although not described using the word "memristor", a study was done of bilayer
oxide films based on manganite for non-volatile memory by researchers at the University
of Houston in 2001.[22] Some of the graphs indicate a tunable resistance based on the
number of applied voltage pulses similar to the effects found in the titanium dioxide
memristor materials described in the Nature paper "The missing memristor found".


Williams' solid-state memristors can be combined into devices called crossbar

latches, which could replace transistors in future computers, taking up a much smaller
area. They can also be fashioned into non-volatile solid-state memory, which would allow
greater data density than hard drives with access times potentially similar to DRAM,
replacing both components. HP prototyped a crossbar latch memory using the devices
that can fit 100 gigabits in a square centimeter. HP has reported that its version of the
memristor is about one-tenth the speed of DRAM.

The devices' resistance would be read with alternating current so that they do not
affect the stored value. Some patents related to memristors appear to include applications
in programmable logic, signal processing, neural networks, and control systems.

Recently, a simple electronic circuit consisting of an LC contour and a memristor

was used to model experiments on adaptive behavior of unicellular organisms. It was
shown that the electronic circuit subjected to a train of periodic pulses learns and
anticipates the next pulse to come, similarly to the behavior of slime molds Physarum
polycephalum subjected to periodic changes of environment. Such a learning circuit may
find applications, e.g., in pattern recognition.


From the circuit-theoretic point of view, the three basic two-terminal circuit
elements are defined in terms of a relationship between two of the four fundamental
circuit variables, namely;the current i, the voltage v, the charge q, and the flux-linkage cp.
Out of the six possible combinations of these four variables, five have led to well-known
relationships . Two of these relationships are already given by


t t
Q(t) =
∫ ∞
I (t) dt
Ø (t) =
∫ ∞
v(t) dt
. Three other relationships are given,

respectively, by the axiomatic definition of the three classical circuit elements, namely,
the resistor (defined by a relationship between v and i), the inductor (defined by a
relationship between cp and i), and the capacitor (defined by a relationship between q and

v). Only one relationship remains undefined, the relationship between ø and q. From the
logical as well as axiomatic points of view, it is necessary for the sake of completeness to
postulate the existence of a fourth basic two-terminal circuit element which is

characterized by a ø-q
curve. This element will henceforth be called the memristor because, as will be shown
later, it behaves somewhat like a nonlinear resistor with memory. The proposed symbol

of a memristor and a hypothetical ø-q curve are shown in Fig. l(a). Using a ,mutator , a
memristor with any prescribed ø-q curve can be realized by connecting an appropriate
nonlinear resistor, inductor, or capacitor across port 2 of an M-R mutator, an M-L
mutator, and an M-C mutator, as shown in Fig. l(b), (c), and (d), respectively. These
mutators, of which there are two types of each, are defined and characterized in Table I.3
Hence, a type-l M-R mutator would transform the VR -IR< curve of the nonlinear resistor

f(VR, IR)=O into the corresponding ø-q curve f(ø,q)=O of a memristor. In contrast to
this, a type-2 M-R mutator would transform the IR,VR curve of the nonlinear resistor

f(IR,VR)=O into the corresponding ø-q curve f(ø,q) = 0 of a memristor. An analogous

transformation is realized with an M-L mutator (M-C mutator) with respect to the ((øL,
iL) or (iL, øL) [(vC, qC) or (qC, vC)] curve of a nonlinear inductor (capacitor).

(a) Memristor and its ø-q curve.

(b). Memristor basic realization 1: M-R

mutator terminated by nonlinear Resistor R.

(c) Memristor basic realization 2: M-L

mutator terminated by nonlinear inductor L

(d) Memristor basic realization M-C mutator

terminated by nonlinear capacitor C

Proposed symbol for memristor and its three basic realizations.


The reason that the memristor is radically different from the other fundamental
circuit elements is that, unlike them, it carries a memory of its past. When you turn off
the voltage to the circuit, the memristor still remembers how much was applied before
and for how long. That's an effect that can't be duplicated by any circuit combination of
resistors, capacitors, and inductors, which is why the memristor qualifies as a
fundamental circuit element.

6.1 New 'Memristor' Could Make Computers Work like Human Brains

After the resistor, capacitor, and inductor comes the memristor. Researchers at HP
Labs have discovered a fourth fundamental circuit element that can't be replicated by a

combination of the other three. The memristor (short for "memory resistor") is unique
because of its ability to, in HP's words, "[retain] a history of the information it has
acquired." HP says the discovery of the memristor paves the way for anything from
instant-on computers to systems that can "remember and associate series of events in a
manner similar to the way a human brain recognizes patterns." Such brain-like systems
would allow for vastly improved facial or biometric recognition, and they could be used
to make appliances that "learn from experience."

In PCs, HP foresees memristors being used to make new types of system memory
that can store information even after they lose power, unlike today's DRAM. With
memristor-based system RAM, PCs would no longer need to go through a boot process to
load data from the hard drive into the memory, which would save time and power—
especially since users could simply switch off systems instead of leaving them in a
"sleep" mode

6.2 Memristors Make Chips Cheaper

The first hybrid memristor-transistor chip could be cheaper and more energy
efficient. Entire industries and research fields are devoted to ensuring that, every year,
computers continue getting faster. But this trend could begin to slow down as the
components used in electronic circuits are shrunk to the size of just a few atoms.
Researchers at HP Labs in Palo Alto, CA, are betting that a new fundamental electronic
component--the memristor--will keep computer power increasing at this rate for years to

They are nanoscale devices with unique properties: a variable resistance and the
ability to remember the resistance even when the power is off.Increasing performance has
usually meant shrinking components so that more can be packed onto a circuit. But
instead, Williams's team removes some transistors and replaces them with a smaller
number of memristors. "We're not trying to crowd more transistors onto a chip or into a
particular circuit," Williams says. "Hybrid memristor-transistor chips really have the
promise for delivering a lot more performance."

A memristor acts a lot like a resistor but with one big difference: it can change
resistance depending on the amount and direction of the voltage applied and can
remember its resistance even when the voltage is turned off. These unusual properties
make them interesting from both a scientific and an engineering point of view. A single
memristor can perform the same logic functions as multiple transistors, making them a
promising way to increase computer power. Memristors could also prove to be a faster,
smaller, more energy-efficient alternative to flash storage.

6.3 Memristor as Digital and Analog

A memristive device can function in both digital and analog forms, both having
very diverse applications. In digital mode, it could substitute conventional solid-state
memories (Flash) with high-speed and less steeply priced nonvolatile random access
memory (NVRAM). Eventually, it would create digital cameras with no delay between
photos or computers that save power by turning off when not needed and then turning
back on instantly when needed.

6.4 No Need of Rebooting

The memristor's memory has consequences:
The reason computers have to be rebooted every time they are turned on is that their logic
circuits are incapable of holding their bits after the power is shut off. But because a
memristor can remember voltages, a memristor-driven computer would arguably never
need a reboot. “You could leave all your Word files and spreadsheets open, turn off your
computer, and go get a cup of coffee or go on vacation for two weeks,” says Williams.
“When you come back, you turn on your computer and everything is instantly on the
screen exactly the way you left it.”that keeps memory powered. HP says memristor-based
RAM could one day replace DRAM altogether.

Although memristor research is still in its infancy, HP Labs is working on a
handful of practical memristor projects. And now Williams's team has demonstrated a
working memristor-transistor hybrid chip.
"Because memristors are made of the same materials used in normal integrated circuits,"
says Williams, "it turns out to be very easy to integrate them with transistors." His team,
which includes HP researcher Qiangfei Xia, built a field-programmable gate array
(FPGA) using a new design that includes memristors made of the semiconductor titanium
dioxide and far fewer transistors than normal.

Engineers commonly use FPGAs to test prototype chip designs because they can
be reconfigured to perform a wide variety of different tasks. In order to be so flexible,
however, FPGAs are large and expensive. And once the design is done, engineers
generally abandon FPGAs for leaner "application-specific integrated circuits." "When
you decide what logic operation you want to do, you actually flip a bunch of switches and
configuration bits in the circuit," says Williams. In the new chip, these tasks are
performed by memristors. "What we're looking at is essentially pulling out all of the
configuration bits and all of the transistor switches," he says.

According to Williams, using memristors in FPGAs could help significantly lower

costs. "If our ideas work out, this type of FPGA will completely change the balance," he
says. Ultimately, the next few years could be very important for memristor research.
Right now, "the biggest impediment to getting memristors in the marketplace is having
[so few] people who can actually design circuits [using memristors]," Williams says.
Still, he predicts that memristors will arrive in commercial circuits within the next three

When is it coming?

Researchers say that no real barrier prevents implementing the memristor in

circuitry immediately. But it's up to the business side to push products through to
commercial reality. Memristors made to replace flash memory (at a lower cost and lower

power consumption) will likely appear first; HP's goal is to offer them by 2012. Beyond
that, memristors will likely replace both DRAM and hard disks in the 2014-to-2016 time
frame. As for memristor-based analog computers, that step may take 20-plus years.


Q1. What problem does this technology address?

ANS: The problem of heat generation due to higher densities that also defects and affects
the basic physics of the devices.
Q2. What important market does it address?
ANS: Semiconductor Industries
Data Storage Devices
Q3. What new capabilities come with this technology?
1. Nanoscale Electonics Experience
2. Possible replacement for DRAM
3. Possible Brain-like system
Q4. Does this look like a winning technology?
SMALL SIZED technology is IN!
- The smaller the device, the more important memristance becomes.
- With the fact that it demonstrates all of the necessary operating characteristics.
Q5. Can we make adaptations or enhancements?
- neuroscience/engineering labs
- Redesigning of circuits to include memristors to obtain the same function with


The memristor is a super-dense, super fast digital memory that does not requires
electrical current to keep its state (for computers that turns instantly on and off), and an
analog simulation of the brain (by encoding synaptic strengths using memristors.). It is
assumed that it’s going to hit the electronic market by 2012 and memristors will likely
replace both DRAM and hard disks in the 2014-to-2016.


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