Science & Technology
Scientists discover material with a brain-like memory
By T.K. Randall
August 25, 2022 · 12 comments
Could this be the future of electronics ? Image Credit: POWERlab / 2022 EPFL
It might not be alive, but this remarkable chemical compound seems to be able to remember things for several hours.
In a world-first, researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have accidentally discovered the first known chemical compound to exhibit memory capabilities.
Known as vanadium dioxide, the compound is certainly not alive, but it does seem to be able to remember physical stimuli for several hours after the fact.
"Here we report electronically accessible long-lived structural states in vanadium dioxide that can provide a scheme for data storage and processing," the scientists wrote in a new paper.
"These glass-like functional devices could outperform conventional metal-oxide-semiconductor electronics in terms of speed, energy consumption and miniaturization, as well as provide a route to neuromorphic computation and multilevel memories."
In other words, this new compound could represent an important breakthrough in the development of electronic devices as well as the way that data is stored and processed.
In the future, vanadium dioxide could even be a potential replacement for silicon in electronics.
"The VO2 seemed to 'remember' the first phase transition and anticipate the next," said Professor Elison Matiol, who heads up the lab at which the discovery was made.
"We didn't expect to see this kind of memory effect, and it has nothing to do with electronic states but rather with the physical structure of the material."
"No other material behaves in this way."
Source: Science Alert
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