Mindblowing memristor ReRAM tech from HP & Hynix

By Richi Jennings. September 1, 2010, noon EDT.

Remember the memristor, HP Labs' science project from a few years ago? HP's now ready to commercialize it, working with S. Korea's Hynix. In a few years, they say, we'll have cheap, low power, non-volatile, ReRAM, at 10x the density of today's flash memory. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers can scarcely believe their eyes.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention, err, Album Tacos... [give me strength]

(HPQ) (HYXS) (000660)

Chris Mellor kicks us off:

The Memristor, posited as a fourth basic electrical circuit element ... could replace flash ... DRAM and even hard disk drives. ... Memristors were brought from theoretical to actual existence in 2006 by researchers in HP Labs’ Information and Quantum Systems Laboratory (IQSL).


The agreement between HP and Hynix will see them jointly developing ... Resistive Random Access Memory. ... ReRAM uses materials that change resistance when a voltage is applied across them. ... They have set themselves a goal of doing this in three years so the product areas must be pretty well understood already.

Nick Farrell adds historical color:

The innovative memory technology allows more computer memory to be stuffed onto smaller devices. ... The idea was first worked out ... in 1971 ... by Leon O Chua, a ... Berkeley electrical engineering professor. ... He worked out the idea for a fourth basic circuit element to join the resistor, capacitor and inductor. ... It did not really go anywhere until a team of HP boffins figured out how to make it.


HP boffins say that the memristor outperforms flash. ... [It's] more than 100 times faster ... uses a tenth of the energy and has a much longer lifespan.

Katherine Bourzac reviews the teeny, tiny technology:

Memristors are ... similar to the transistors used to store data in flash memory. But ... considerably smaller--as small as three nanometers. ... approaching the physical limits of what's possible in miniaturization. ... In contrast, manufacturers are experimenting with flash memory components that are 20 nanometers in size.


HP makes memristors by laying down parallel metal nanowires onto a substrate, coating them with a layer of titanium dioxide, and placing a second layer of nanowires perpendicular. ... .

But what makes the memristor unique, Priya Ganapati?

What makes the memristor unique is that its resistance can vary based on the charge through the device. ... Memristors require less energy to operate and can retain information even when power is off.


HP and Hynix will have to finalize the materials that will be used in production. ... It doesn’t use silicon ... instead is built from metal oxides such as titanium dioxide.

Meanwhile, Taniniver has just had his or her mind blown:

This stuff just blows my mind - not so much the product itself, but the fact that its existence was mathematically deduced long before they were ever able to actually make one.


That kind of advanced maths is just beyond me.


And Finally...

Album Tacos [hat tip: ROFLrazzi]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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