Transparent Material May Work as MemristorCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: September 17, 2012 02:39PM
One of the new kinds of technology many researchers are working on are transparent electronics. These devices could be used for new and cheaper displays potentially, among other uses. Now one particular transparent electronic material, zinc tin oxide, may also have potential as nonvolatile data storage, as researchers at Oregon State University have discovered it can operate as a memristor.
Memristors are a long predicted electrical component that can remember prior currents that have passed through them by changing their resistance. This change does not require a great deal of energy to occur though, and can happen quickly, so a memristor memory device could be faster and require less power than modern flash memory. As zinc tin oxide appears to be both transparent and a viable memristor, we could see transparent memory in the future and these two properties could accelerate its adoption in the market. Transparent conductors are already a hot topic as researchers look for ways to replace indium tin oxide in displays, as it is an expensive material. If zinc tin oxide were manufactured for displays, then production could be ramped up for memory use as well.
Of course, it may be some time before we see memristor-based storage on the market. Flash is not at its limit yet and memristor memory devices have are not quite market ready, but when the time comes, it may be zinc tin oxide in our gadgets.