Synchrotron x-rays probed the memristor in a 100 nanometer region with concentrated oxygen vacancies (right, shown in blue) where the memristive switching occurs. Surrounding this region a newly developed structural phase (red) was also found to act like a thermometer revealing how hot the device becomes when read or written.
EETimes – senior HP Fellow Stanley Williams says they have discovered that an electric field and a current act together to enable a memristor memory device that can both be switched very rapidly and hold its state indefinitely.
* In testing, they have switched these devices over 30 billion times and counting, with no degradaton in their ability to retain information
Not only does an applied voltage drive the migration of oxygen vacancies in the device, but at the same time there is a current that heats it up to about 300 degrees Celsius—just enough to turn the amorphous film into a crystalline film
The core advantage of memristors is that they can theoretically achieve speeds 10 times that of flash at one-tenth the power budget per cell. They can also be stacked, enabling exceptionally dense memory structures.
HP Labs has working devices with three-nanometer memristors that switch on and off in about a nanosecond and could store 20GB in a square centimeter.
HP joined forces with the Korean memory manufacturer Hynix to fabricate ReRAM (resistive random access memory) modules, with a planned ship date of 2013