Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a hybrid electronic component dubbed the “memtransistor”.
They believe it will enable computers to operate more like the human brain.
“Computers have separate processing and memory storage units, whereas the brain uses neurons to perform both functions,” said the university.
“Neural networks can achieve complicated computation with significantly lower energy consumption compared to a digital computer.”
In a paper published in Nature, the researchers describe how they built an experimental multi-terminal hybrid memristor and transistor using polycrystalline monolayer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) in a scalable fabrication process.
Phys.org reported that this builds on work published in 2015, where a single-layer molybdenum disulfide was used to create a three-terminal, gate-tunable memristor for fast, reliable digital memory storage.
Memristor, a portmanteau of “memory” and “resistor”, is a previously-hypothetical component that remembers the voltage previously applied to it.
According to the report, memristors are typically two-terminal electronic devices that can only control one voltage channel.
A three-terminal component can be used in more complex electronic circuits and systems, such as neuromorphic computing.