Mapping of Memristor Could Speed Its Commercialization

The future of non-volatile memory and logic circuits is a step closer after peering into the memristor on the nanoscale

1 min read
Mapping of Memristor Could Speed Its Commercialization

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.

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Two Startups Are Bringing Fiber to the Processor

Avicena’s blue microLEDs are the dark horse in a race with Ayar Labs’ laser-based system

5 min read
Diffuse blue light shines from a patterned surface through a ring. A blue cable leads away from it.

Avicena’s microLED chiplets could one day link all the CPUs in a computer cluster together.

Avicena

If a CPU in Seoul sends a byte of data to a processor in Prague, the information covers most of the distance as light, zipping along with no resistance. But put both those processors on the same motherboard, and they’ll need to communicate over energy-sapping copper, which slow the communication speeds possible within computers. Two Silicon Valley startups, Avicena and Ayar Labs, are doing something about that longstanding limit. If they succeed in their attempts to finally bring optical fiber all the way to the processor, it might not just accelerate computing—it might also remake it.

Both companies are developing fiber-connected chiplets, small chips meant to share a high-bandwidth connection with CPUs and other data-hungry silicon in a shared package. They are each ramping up production in 2023, though it may be a couple of years before we see a computer on the market with either product.

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