It’s been some time since I last checked in on Hewlett Packard’s drive to develop the memristor. At that time, HP had joined forces with Korean-based memory chipmaker Hynix Semiconductor Inc. to make memristor chips.
So, while I was waiting to see what would come from the collaboration between HP and Hynix, it seemed that not only was the memristor being touted as changing memory but also replacing the transistor altogether as evidenced by the comments on this recent blog post.
Although the latest news is not an announcement of a commercially available product, which looks as though it will be called resistive random access memory (ReRAM), the research HP has conducted recently has been successful in mapping out what happens inside the 100nm channels of the memristor.
The research was conducted by researchers at HP Labs and the University of California Santa Barbara and initially published in the in the UK-based Institute of Physics journal Nanotechnology.
Basically the researchers were able to use X-rays to target precisely the channels within memristors in which resistance switching occurs and then they were able to sort out the chemistry and structure of the channel. If nanotechnology is anything, it is certainly having the tools necessary to see how things operate on the nanoscale and then exploit that knowledge to get things to do what you want.
And what HP no doubt wants is to get the memristor to market and for the first time I am seeing a timeline offered up in which 2014 is an expected to date to see it incorporated into electronic devices like mobile phones and tablets with 10 times greater embedded memory than currently available.
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.