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'Memtransistor' Brings World Closer to Brain-Like Computing

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Optical micrograph of fabricated molybdenum disulfide memtransistors with varying channel length.

A research team at Northwestern University has developed a novel device called a memtransistor, which operates much like a neuron by performing both memory and information processing.

Credit: Northwestern University Newscenter

Researchers at Northwestern University say they have developed a "memtransistor" that can perform both memory and information processing while also using multiple terminals in a neural network-like architecture.

The team employed atomically thin molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) with well-defined grain boundaries, which influence current flow.

"Because molybdenum disulfide is atomically thin, it is easily influenced by applied electric fields," says Northwestern professor Mark C. Hersam. "This property allows us to make a transistor. The memristor characteristics come from the fact that the defects in the material are relatively mobile, especially in the presence of grain boundaries."

The memtransistor also utilizes continuous film of polycrystalline MoS2 constituting a large number of smaller flakes, enabling up-scaling from one flake to many devices throughout an entire wafer.

"We believe that the memtransistor can be a foundational circuit element for new forms of neuromorphic computing," Hersam notes.

From Northwestern University Newscenter
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