are around a hundred times faster than standard flash memory chips," said Tony Kenyon, one of the researchers at UCL's department of electronic and electrical engineering, in statement. The UCL devices also display a continuously variable resistance that depends on the last voltage that was applied. This is an important property that allows the device to mimic how neurons in the brain function.
UCL ReRAM test circuits on broken wafer. Source: UCL/Adnan Mehonic.
The behavior was discovered by accident as researchers at UCL were working on silicon-based light emitting diodes but noticed that devices appeared to be unstable. UCL PhD student, Adnan Mehonic, was asked to look specifically at the material's electrical properties and he discovered that the material was flipping between conducting and non-conducting states.
The technology has potential application beyond memory storage. The team is also exploring the use of silcon-rich silica as a logic switch for use in processors.
UCL team has been backed by UCLB, the technology transfer company of UCL, and has recently filed a patent. UCL said UCLB is in discussions with a number of semiconductor companies.