Researchers uncover a fabric that may study just like the mind

Researchers discover a material that can learn like the brain
Vanadium Dioxide (VO2), a compound able to “remembering” all the historical past of earlier exterior stimuli. Credit score: POWERlab / 2022 EPFL

EPFL researchers have found that Vanadium Dioxide (VO2), a compound utilized in electronics, is able to “remembering” all the historical past of earlier exterior stimuli. That is the primary materials to be recognized as possessing this property, though there may very well be others.

Mohammad Samizadeh Nikoo, a Ph.D. pupil at EPFL’s Energy and Large-band-gap Electronics Analysis Laboratory (POWERlab), made a likelihood discovery throughout his analysis on part transitions in Vanadium Dioxide (VO2). VO2 has an insulating part when relaxed at room temperature, and undergoes a steep insulator-to-metal transition at 68 °C, the place its lattice construction adjustments. Classically, VO2 displays a risky reminiscence: “the fabric reverts again to the insulating state proper after eradicating the excitation” says Samizadeh Nikoo. For his thesis, he got down to uncover how lengthy it takes for VO2 to transition from one state to a different. However his analysis led him down a completely different path: after taking a whole bunch of measurements, he noticed a reminiscence impact in the fabric’s construction.

An surprising discovery

In his experiments, Samizadeh Nikoo utilized an electrical present to a pattern of VO2. “The present moved throughout the fabric, following a path till it exited on the opposite facet,” he explains. As the present heated up the pattern, it prompted the VO2 to vary state. And as soon as the present had handed, the fabric returned to its preliminary state.

Samizadeh Nikoo then utilized a second present pulse to the fabric, and noticed that the time it took to vary state was instantly linked to the historical past of the fabric. “The VO2 appeared to ‘bear in mind’ the primary part transition and anticipate the subsequent,” explains Prof. Elison Matioli, who heads the POWERlab. “We did not anticipate to see this sort of reminiscence impact, and it has nothing to do with digital states however moderately with the bodily construction of the fabric. It is a novel discovery: no different materials behaves in this fashion.”

A reminiscence of up to a few hours

The researchers went on to search out that VO2 is able to remembering its most up-to-date exterior stimulus for up to a few hours. “The reminiscence impact may actually persist for a number of days, however we do not at present have the devices wanted to measure that,” says Matioli.

The analysis staff’s discovery is vital as a result of the reminiscence impact they noticed is an innate property of the fabric itself. Engineers depend on reminiscence to carry out calculations of every kind, and supplies that might improve the calculation course of by providing higher capability, pace and miniaturization are in excessive demand. VO2 ticks all three of those packing containers. What’s extra, its steady, structural reminiscence units it other than typical supplies that retailer knowledge as binary data depending on the manipulation of digital states.

The researchers carried out a bunch of measurements to reach at their findings. Additionally they corroborated their outcomes by making use of the brand new methodology to completely different supplies at different laboratories around the globe. This discovery replicates properly what occurs within the mind, as VO2 switches act similar to neurons.


Novel quantum simulation methodology clarifies correlated properties of complicated materials 1T -TaS2


Extra data:
Mohammad Samizadeh Nikoo, Electrical management of glass-like dynamics in vanadium dioxide for knowledge storage and processing, Nature Electronics (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41928-022-00812-z. www.nature.com/articles/s41928-022-00812-z

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Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

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