The first material that remembers electrical stimuli

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(ANSA) – ROME, AUGUST 23 – Surprises from a material commonly used in electronics: vanadium dioxide is able to remember the electrical stimuli received for at least three hours and to ‘learn’ to react to new stimuli. It is a unique property of its kind that could open up new applications in many areas, including the future production of artificial neurons. Unexpectedly, it was discovered by a student of the Polytechnic University of Lausanne (EPFL), who described the phenomenon in the journal Nature Electronics.

Vanadium dioxide (VO2) is a molecule used for some time in many sectors and has a series of important characteristics, for which it is constantly under observation by researchers interested in expanding its possible applications. In just one series of experiments of this type, an EPFL doctoral student, Mohammad Samizadeh Nikoo, was analyzing its insulating capabilities when he subjected the material to temperature variations and electrical stimuli. Repeating the experiment several times and measuring the timing of these transformations, the student found that “VO2 seemed to ‘remember’ the first phase transition and anticipate the next,” said Elison Matioli, head of the research lab. by Samizadeh Nikoo. “No other material behaves this way,” he added.

The one observed in the experiment is a sort of memory of the electrical impulse received previously, which allows the material to react faster when it is stimulated again. The discovery could have important applications in the world of microelectronics, in particular for reducing the energy consumption of chips or for increasing their speed. Another possible application could be in the production of future artificial neurons, that is chips inspired by the functioning of human neurons and which could revolutionize the world of computing. (HANDLE).

Source: Ansa

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