A memristor, or memory resistor, is described as one of the basic elements (resistor, capacitor, inductor) of electronic circuits, because it can’t be replaced by any combination of these elements. This element can change its resistivity according to the voltage, but even after disconnection it remembers resistivity for unlimited time. It can work like analog memory or a resistive switch, which can have an infinite number of states.
Professor Leon Chua mathematically described this element in 1971. In 2008 scientists from HP labs described a material that appeared to be a good candidate to construct the hypothetical memristor of Leon Chua.
How it works [change]
The fourth element can change its conductivity by the voltage and after power interruption the size of the resistivity stays the same. No combination of the other three circuit elements can replace a memristor. Only the memristor allows reconfiguring properties so it allows changing a whole electronic circuit. Analogy behaviour is similar to synapses in the brain.
Future usage [change]
Memristor has a great potential by using in computer science. For example, today computers have to boot from hard drives because data are erased from operation memory immediately after shutting down the computer. The process of booting takes a lot of time and energy. Memristor could be used for quicker data loading because it remembers data even after power interruption. Memristors could be used to speed the booting process.
The first products using memristor technology are expected to become available in 2013.