Researchers Show Off Transparent Zinc Tin Oxide Memristors
September 17, 2012 10:57 PM
Transparent thin film memory could soon be here
Zinc tin oxide (ZTO) has one big advantage over traditional thin-film semiconductor materials like
gallium- or indium-containing compounds
-- it's cheap.
ZTO, unlike the other thin-film candidates is based on elements that are plentiful in the Earth's crust. Plus it
happens to be transparent
, an added bonus when inspecting thin-film applications.
[Image Source: Look Chem]
Previous work had already shown ZTO to make relatively good thin-film transistors -- now new research shows it's also a capable candidate for the memristor, a promising new circuit element.
Memristors are a
new circuit element
long theorized, but only
by Hewlett Packard Comp.'s (
) research wing,
. Since that breakthrough things have proceeded rapidly, with licensed devices expected to launch as traditional SSD replacements as early as next year. Memristor RRAM (resistive random access memory) differs from NAND (not-and gate) memory in that it stores values as a resistance value, rather than a charge. Hence it saves power and offers some performance advantages.
The latest development comes courtesy of Oregon State University, who successfully constructed a ZTO memristor (a much more affordable concoction that HP's original titanium dioxide design).
Professor John Conley
, the team lead, "Flash memory has taken us a long way with its very small size and low price. But it’s nearing the end of its potential, and memristors are a leading candidate to continue performance improvements."
flexible thin-film memristor
is expected to open up applications other than RRAM, too though. One possibility suggested would be to couple the transparent memristors with thin-film transistors (TFT) in a futuristic display.
The new memristors could be added to flexible displays. [Image Source: Flexible-Display.net]
The findings were
, a peer-reviewed electrical-engineering journal. The work was funded by the
U.S. Office of Naval Research
National Science Foundation
(NSF), and the
Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute
OSU [press release]
Solid-State Electronics [abstract]
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