The University of Southampton

Reliably unreliable nanotechnologies

Nanoelectronics, Biomimetics, Biologically Inspired Computing and Robotics
EPSRC (EP/K017829/1)

Nanoscale resistive switching (RS) elements, also known as memristors, are nowadays regarded as a promising solution for establishing next-generation memory, due to their infinitesimal dimensions, their capacity to store multiple bits of information per element and the miniscule energy required to write distinct states. Currently, the microelectronics community aspires exploiting these attributes in a deterministic fashion where information encoding and processing is realised via static representations. In consequence, research efforts are focused on optimising memristor technology in a "More Moore" approach to comply with existing CMOS devices attributes, i.e. high-yield, supreme reproducibility, very long retention characteristics and conventional circuit design formalisms. The functional properties of such elements are however associated with irreversible rate-limiting electro/thermo-dynamic changes that often bring them in "far from equilibrium" conditions, manifesting opportunities for unconventional computing within a probabilistic framework.

This fellowship aims exploiting the strong emergence of ultra-thin functional oxides, nanoscale resistive switching elements and large-scale systems of the same. We will first investigate the effect of quantum phase transitions and the mechanisms leading into thermodynamically stable/unstable long-range order/disorder of distinct materials. These mechanisms will then be exploited in nanoscale solid-state devices for establishing the state-of-the-art in non-volatile multi-state memory but also volatile elements that could potentially be employed as dynamic computational elements. The rich-dynamics of the later will be compared against reaction-diffusion mechanisms of naturally occurring nano-systems to facilitate novel design paradigms and emerging ICT applications for substantiating unconventional computation formalisms. A successful outcome will demonstrate a mature memristive device manufacturing technology that will be supported by the necessary design tools, for taking CMOS technology far beyond its current state-of-art.

Primary investigator

Secondary investigators

Associated research groups

  • Nano Research Group
  • Southampton Nanofabrication Centre
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