Vanadium Dioxide Is Like Our Brain's Memory

Vanadium Dioxide Is Like Our Brain's Memory
Vanadium Dioxide Is Like Our Brain's Memory

The strange element known as vanadium dioxide "remembers" the date and time information was stored. It is similar to biological memory. Temporary electrons can only permanently store one of two values, 0 or 1, in digital computer memory. A new glass memory is more like biological memory in that it can store a wide variety of states over long periods of time. The structural design of the glass seems to have locked the recall.

Memory storage varies widely in computers and living things. Described in a recent scientific publication, vanadium dioxide glass is a very rare material capable of preserving memory within its atomic and molecular structures. This makes it act more like a neuron and less like a digital device.

The main working memory banks of computers, commonly known as RAM and cache, are effectively electronic prisons. The computer can determine whether an electron is "full" or "not full" in each memory "jail" cell to read values ​​of 0 or 1. If the electricity that keeps the cell doors closed is turned off, the electrons go out and the memory is lost.
The striking finding of the paper's experiments is that vanadium dioxide glass appears to preserve memory in a completely different way. VO2Besides being “full” or “empty,” it “remembers” various exceptions and the date the information was stored. It achieves this without even needing to use constant power or electron traps.

VO of the nature of glass2It's possible that it has something to do with the capacity to hold this memory. Atoms bonded to specific places form a solid structure in crystalline materials. Trillions of atoms neatly packed in a certain way produce the sharp faces, geometric shapes, and perfect planes of crystals. Unlike crystals, which have an ordered structure, glasses have an amorphous structure, in which atoms are packed closely together but arranged in enormous chaos.

VO2 initially it is a crystal in an ordered state. The electrical pulses are used to turn the crystal into glass and store a value in its memory. One more pulse, the memory is accessed and the glass VO2Causes it to turn into a crystal again. Atoms rearrange from their random places, which requires some time in the process. VO2The time elapsed since vitrification and the number of blows used to vitrify affect how long this period takes.

It is not entirely clear why glass can remember a range of values. Interestingly, it doesn't appear to be electrons that store memory. The authors prove this by ingenious experiments in which they change the electron populations in glass using a laser and observe no changes in memory. Therefore, it is likely that the memory is locked into atomic configuration.

An electric current pulse that reads data from memory cannot pass through the glass. To reach the opposite side from which it is read, it must form a chain of conductive (crystalline) atoms. The diffuse configuration of glass atoms somehow corresponds to the stored memory. Although the details are unknown, the current beat's VO2It is possible to accurately determine how many beats are stored in memory at any given time by measuring the time it takes for the .

The internal structure of memory seems to change slightly when holding a value. As a result, the reading may shift. This is a problem in general, but can be fixed or even used in applications that need numbers that change over time.

VO2 An important feature is that glass memory can hold a value for at least three hours without power, and possibly much longer. This would make it possible for computer chips to store memory internally without the need for constant power to keep the electron confinement in place. While it is difficult to account for the change in value during these hours, "non-volatile" memory will allow devices to sleep without draining their batteries.

VO2 Another useful feature of memory is that although it does not store information with electrons, it can set and read the value of electrons. In this way, it may be possible to integrate it into existing computer technology. VO2 While glass memory won't be in your next smartphone, this interesting item could one day lead to an incredible innovation.

Source: bigthink.com/the-future/vanadium-dioxide-glass-memory/

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