Scientists On Verge Of Creating Artifical Brain Memory Using Nanofluidic Synapses To Store Computational Memory - CLTC Higher Education

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Scientists On Verge Of Creating Artifical Brain Memory Using Nanofluidic Synapses To Store Computational Memory

In a groundbreaking development towards advancing neuromorphic computing, engineers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have achieved a significant milestone: executing logic operations using artificial nanofluidic synapses, heralding a potential paradigm shift in computational memory storage. Published in Nature Electronics, their research showcases the potential of nanofluidic-based neuromorphic computing, a brain-inspired approach that leverages ions instead of electrons for data processing.

Memory, a fundamental aspect of computing and cognitive function, is pivotal in facilitating the storage and retrieval of information. Unlike traditional computing, which relies on separate memory and processing units, the EPFL team’s approach aims to emulate the brain’s efficient computation directly on stored data, thereby mitigating the inefficiencies associated with the von Neumann bottleneck.

Lead researcher Aleksandra Radenovic, from EPFL’s Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology (LBEN), embarked on an ambitious endeavor to create a functional nanofluidic memristive device capable of mimicking the brain’s energy-efficient information processing. The device, developed by LBEN postdoctoral researcher Théo Emmerich and team, represents a significant advancement in scalability and performance compared to previous attempts.

At the heart of their innovation lies the utilization of ions, rather than electrons, to enable memory storage and computation. Memristors, capable of switching between two conductance states, have been adapted to exploit the diverse properties of ions. By immersing the device in an electrolyte water solution containing potassium ions, the researchers demonstrated the ability to modulate memory by varying ion compositions.

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Fabricated at EPFL’s Center of MicroNanoTechnology, the nanofluidic device features a silicon nitride membrane with a nanopore at its core. Palladium and graphite layers facilitate ion channel formation, enabling the percolation of ions towards the pore. As ions converge, a blister forms, inducing a change in conductivity and encoding memory states.

The team’s observation of the device’s memory action in real-time, facilitated by a bespoke microscope, represents a significant milestone in the field. Collaborating with experts from the Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures, led by Andras Kis, the researchers successfully connected multiple nanofluidic synapses to form a logic circuit based on ion flow.

This achievement marks the first demonstration of digital logic operations using synapse-like ionic devices, setting the stage for further advancements in liquid-based circuits. The team’s vision extends to creating fully liquid circuits by integrating water channels, offering inherent cooling properties and potential applications in brain-computer interfaces and neuromedicine.

The implications of this research are profound, promising to reshape the landscape of computing by harnessing the principles of nanofluidics and neural processing. As the journey towards liquid-based computing unfolds, EPFL’s pioneering work paves the way for transformative innovations in computational memory and beyond.

  • Journal Reference: Theo Emmerich, Yunfei Teng, Nathan Ronceray, Edoardo Lopriore, Riccardo Chiesa, Andrey Chernev, Vasily Artemov, Massimiliano Di Ventra, Andras Kis, Aleksandra Radenovic. Nanofluidic logic with mechano–ionic memristive switches. Nature Electronics, 2024; DOI: 10.1038/s41928-024-01137-9

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  • Last Updated On 26th March 2024

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