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Memristor Circuits

Mohammad Mahvash Alice C. Parker

Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering

University of Southern California University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA USA Los Angeles, CA USA

Email: mahvashm@usc.edu Email: parker@usc.edu

by Leon Chua in 1971. The physical implementation of the

memristor was created by scientists at HP Labs in 2008 and

the coupled variable resistor model was proposed. Here we show

a SPICE model for such a memristor using dependent voltage

sources. The model is validated by simulating simple circuits and

comparing with the expected results. The proposed model makes

it possible to design and simulate memristor circuits using SPICE.

We simulate two circuits, a low pass filter in which a memristor is

in series with a resistor and an integrator circuit with operational

amplifier. The results are compared with inductor circuits in

which a memristor is replaced by an inductor. The comparison

shows that a memristor is acting like an inductor under certain

conditions. Since the memristor has great performance in terms

of power dissipation and with its nanometer size there might be

a possible application of the memristor to be used as an inductor.

that he called a memristor (memory + resistor) [1]. He noted present another possible application of the memristor, using

among the six possible combinations of the four fundamental the memristor as an inductor under certain conditions. We also

circuit variables, i, v, q and φ, five have well-known relation- show the use of the memristor in an integrator circuit and in

ships. Two of them are the definition of current and Faraday’s a low-pass filter.

law and the rest are given by the three circuit elements,

dφ dq II. S PICE MODEL OF A MEMRISTOR

resistor(R = dv dt ), inductor(L = di ) and capacitor(C = dv ).

Based on the symmetry, he claimed there should be a forth In the SPICE model of a memristor presented here, there

fundamental element called a memristor which is a relation is a thin semiconductor film that has two regions, one with a

between charge and magnetic flux(M = dφ dq ). Although he

high concentration of dopant that behaves like a low resistance

presented memristor’s laboratory realization in the form of called RON and the other with a low dopant concentration

active circuits, before May 2008 the existence of a memristor with higher resistance called ROF F . The film is sandwiched

in the form of a physical device had not been discovered. between two metal contacts (Fig. 1). When we apply a voltage

In May 2008, scientists at HP labs, led by R. Stanley v(t) to the device, the dopants drift from low to high or high

Williams, announced an invention of a physical device for the to low concentration depending on the voltage polarity. For

memristor [2], [3]. They also presented a physical model of simplicity, we assume linear ionic drift in a uniform electric

a memristor called the coupled variable resistor model, which field with average ion mobility µV . In this case, the V-I

works like a perfect memristor under certain conditions. In this characteristic of the device is

paper, we present a simplified SPICE model for memristors

w(t) w(t)

based on the coupled variable resistor model. While a propri- v(t) = (RON + ROF F (1 − ))i(t) (1)

D D

etary SPICE model for the HP technology exists, no model has

been available for general use. In order to design and simulate w is the state variable which is the length of the doped

circuits with memristor elements, a SPICE model is required. region in the thin film (Fig. 1). dw(t)

dt is proportional to the

Applications of the memristor include implementing neu- current and therefore w is a function of charge.

romorphic circuits using memristive nanodevices [4], [5], RON

[6] and ultra dense nonvolatile memories. In this paper we w(t) = µV q(t) (2)

D

Fig. 2. 100 ohm resistor subcircuit

Fig. 3. Memristor subcircuit

like a variable resistor; its resistivity M (q) is a function of

charge.

µV RON

M (q) = ROF F − (ROF F − RON ) q(t) (3)

D2

In order to model a variable resistor in SPICE, we first

model a regular resistor with a dependent voltage source

without using a resistor. Fig. 2 shows how to model a 100Ω

ohm resistor in SPICE. To sense current in the circuit, we

use an independent voltage source Vsense which is 0.0 volts

and therefore it has no effect on the output voltage. The other

source, Vr is a dependent voltage source that generates the

Fig. 4. Voltage and current of the memristor

voltage across the resistor based on the sensed current times

the desired resistance (Vr = I ∗ 100Ω), where I is measured

at Vsense .

Now to create a model for a memristor that is a variable

resistor, all we need to do is change the value of the voltage

source Vr to a function of q based on Equation (3). As shown

in Fig. 3, a capacitor Csense is added to sense the charge in the

circuit. Note that to cancel the effect of the capacitor voltage

on the output voltage, we subtract it from the Vr voltage value.

(Vr = I ∗ M − Vc ), where Vc is the voltage across Csense .

We validate the model by simulating for different input

voltages such as DC, sinusoidal and square wave signals and

show a curve here comparing with the expected results. Fig.

4 shows the current of the memristor when a sinusoidal input

voltage is applied. The V-I characteristic of the memristor

is shown in Fig. 5. (RON = 1Ω, ROF F = 160Ω, D =

10nm, µV = 10−14 m2 /sec.volts) Note that this model is valid Fig. 5. i-v curve

as long as the system remains in the memristor regime which,

in this case, is where the state variable w is bounded between

zero and D. Based on Equation 2, the condition for the circuit is non-linear, in addition to the main frequency, other

memristor regime is as follows: frequency components are generated. However the main fre-

quency has the highest magnitude. Fig. 7 shows the frequency

D2

0 ≤ q(t) ≤ (4) response when 0.3sin(ωt) is applied. The result is similar to

µV RON a simple RL filter (inductor in series with resistor) however

when the input signal amplitude changes, the response would

III. L OW PASS FILTER be different, which means the memristor is not acting like a

A low-pass filter using a memristor in series with a resistor fixed inductor but depends on the level of the voltage applied

is proposed (Fig. 6). In order to obtain the gain-magnitude to the memristor; the equivalent inductor is different. As shown

frequency response we apply a sine wave and measure the in Fig. 7, at a high frequency, the memristor is acting like a

magnitude of the main frequency in the output. Since the resistance and the circuit is changed to a voltage divider.

990

Fig. 8. Integrator with memristor

(We retain only the negative sign in “±” to satisfy the

memristor regime condition in Equation 4). Using i = dqdt

IV. I NTEGRATOR we have

Fig. 8 shows an integrator using a memristor and an v0

i(t) = p 2 (8)

operational amplifier. When a square wave is applied to the ROF F − 2v0 rt

input, the output would be a ramp signal, which is in fact

the integral of the input voltage (Fig. 9). As compared to an v0 v02 r 12v03 r2 2

i(t) = + 3 t + 5 t + ... (9)

integrator with inductor, the memristor acts like an inductor ROF F ROF F ROF F

under certain conditions. If the period of the input signal or We can approximate the current using the first two terms

the amplitude of the input square wave increases, the output of the Taylor series, if the third term is much smaller than

is not a ramp shape any more (Fig. 10). the second term. This is the condition in which memristor is

Now we calculate the conditions in which the memristor equivalent to an inductor :

could be replaced by an inductor and also an equivalent

2

inductor value. Based on Equation 3 and the definition of the ROF F

v0 T (10)

memristor (dφ = M (q)dq), we obtain the flux as a function 6r

of the charge: As compared to the output of an integrator with an inductor,

µV RON 2 the equivalent inductor is calculated.

φ(t) = ROF F q(t) − (ROF F − RON ) q (t) (5)

2D2 3

ROF F D2 1

Leqv = (11)

We identify r = (ROF F − RON ) µVDR2ON

. We assume the RON (ROF F − RON ) µV v0

input is v0 at time[0,T/2] where T is the period of the signal.

Using Faraday’s law (v(t) = dφ dt ) we find the flux as a function

V. C ONCLUSION

of time and then replace it in Equation 5 to to have the charge A SPICE model for the memristor based on the coupled

as a second-order equation of time as follows: variable resistor model was proposed and was validated by

r 2 simulating simple circuits and comparing with the expected

q (t) − ROF F q(t) + v0 t = 0 (6) results. A low pass filter and an integrator circuit using a

2

memristor were simulated and the results were analyzed. The

memristor is acting like an inductor under certain conditions.

p

ROF F ± ROF 2

F − 2v0 rt

q(t) = (7) The conditions were obtained and the equivalent inductor was

r

991

Fig. 10. Input and output waveforms in non linear regime

as power and size with conventional inductors, we conclude a

possible application of the memristor is as an inductor.

R EFERENCES

[1] L. Chua, “Memristor-the missing circuit element,” Circuits Theory, IEEE

Transactions on [legacy, pre - 1988], vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 507-519, 1971.

[2] J. M. Tour and T. He, “The forth element,” Nature, vol. 453,pp. 42-43,

2008.

[3] D. B. Strukov, G. S. Snider, D. R. Stewart, and S. R. Williams, “The

missing memristor found,” Nature, vol. 453, no. 7191, pp. 80-83, 2008.

[4] L. O. Chua and S. M. Kang, “Memristive devices and systems.” Proc

IEEE, vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 209-223, 1976.

[5] L. Chua, “Nonlinear circuit foundations for nanodevices, I - The four

element torus,” Proc IEEE, vol. 91, no. 11, pp. 1830-1859, 2003.

[6] G. S. Sinder, “Spike-timing-dependent learning in memristive nanode-

vices,” ,2008

992

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