Memristor is the key to flexible electronics

Ongoing developments into memristor technologies have helped researchers come even closer to bendable, wearable electronics.

Memristors are a fourth class of electric circuit, and, despite being hypothesised in the seventies, are a very new addition to the transistors, capacitors and inductors that usually make up chips.

The technology has been being developed extensively by HP, which is expected to be releasing memory-like memristor products in 2013.

And now researchers at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), have found a novel use for memristors that could see bendable electronics become commonplace in the “near future”.

The team says that one of the main problems with the production of flexible electronics has been the development of operational flexible memory.

However they believe that they have solved this with what they describe as “fully functional” flexible resistive random access memory (RRAM).  With this memory, they say, a cell can be randomly accessed, written and erased on a plastic substrate that is able to be bend and rolled easily.

It is not the first time that flexible memory has been under development. However the researchers believe that their device overcomes one of the major problems of cell to cell interference.

To solve this it is necessary to integrate switching elements like transistors with memory elements.  However most transistors which are built on flexible plastic substrates are unable to achieve the performance level required to drive conventional memory. 

The team at KAIST managed to fix this by developing memory which is not affected by cell to cell interference, using the properties of memristors alongside a silicon transistor on flexible substrates.

By applying the properties of both technologies they were able to get all the memory function in a matrix memory array functioning without problems.