July 07, 2012

Wearable fabric memristors

Printed Electronics World - The seminal early work on printed memristors was carried out by Nadine Gergel Hackett at the National Institutes for Science and Technology. However, the commercialization of memristors, the basis of the human brain and the "missing" fourth fundamental passive component, was based on Hewlett Packard making arrays of them on silicon chips and integrated into these transistor circuits. Intel and others have also moved these into the commercial space but not usually by employing printing or even titanium dioxide.

Now we see a return to the larger but thin film, titanium dioxide memristors in the form of fibers, the 12-300 nm layers being variously created by thermal or plasma oxidation, RF sputtering or electrochemical deposition with more conventional printing as a route to value engineering the devices in due course.

Korean researchers recently published a paper describing a single titanium oxide based memristor they have integrated with a single crystal silicon transistor. In addition to future research into improved reading of nonvolatile memory via a diode and unipolar resistor combination, they created and tested a single Transistor/ Memristor cell on plastic substrates. When packing cells with the 1T-1M model, they achieved random memory access without the earlier difficulties of read-path problems encountered with electrical distortion and interference. The flexible transistor works to limit read current from these memristive sneak-paths. The test arrays were constructed of an 8×8 grid of transistor-memristor cells, and they tolerated a 2.8cm long flex to within 1.8cm of each edge, for 100 flex cycles.

Researchers have demonstrated a CuxO resistive switching memory on Cu wire by forming CuxO film through thermal oxidation of the copper wire. The inner core Cu wire was used as the bottom electrode, outer shell CuxO film was used as the storage medium, and Pt was used as the top electrode, thus forming a Cu/CuxO/Pt structure. The electrical switching properties were characterized and the retention and cyclic endurance of the memory device were examined. The cylindrical morphology of the device can play the role of a fiber of the textile, and therefore the memory can potentially serve as the fundamental building block for integration into future e-textile.

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