Breakthrough could speed up the evolution of next generation memory technology.
Scientists in the US say they have made a key breakthrough that could speed up the evolution of next generation memory technology.
Researchers at HP and the University of California have unravelled some of the physical and chemical properties of the memristor - a type of circuit that "remembers" how much charge has flown through it.
It has the potential to replace flash memory and RAM chips in computers in the next five years and even revolutionise artificial intelligence, experts believe.
Stan Williams, HP senior fellow, said: "The ability to 'remember' the total electronic charge that passes through [memristors] will be of greatest benefit when they can act like synapses within electronic circuits, mimicking the complex network of neurons in the brain, enabling our own ability to perceive, think and remember."
Functional memristors were built at HP's labs three years ago, but because the technology operates at an extremely small scale it was poorly understood.
Now scientists have managed to examine the 100nm space where the resistance switches using powerful X-rays.
They are hoping the information can be used create computer models to boost memristor performance.
Copyright Press Association 2011