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The missing memristor found

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 25 June 2009


Anyone who ever took an electronics laboratory class will be familiar with the fundamental passive circuit elements: the resistor, the capacitor and the inductor. However, in 1971 Leon Chua reasoned from symmetry arguments that there should be a fourth fundamental element, which he called a memristor (short for memory resistor)1. Although he showed that such an element has many interesting and valuable circuit properties, until now no one has presented either a useful physical model or an example of a memristor. Here we show, using a simple analytical example, that memristance arises naturally in nanoscale systems in which solid-state electronic and ionic transport are coupled under an external bias voltage. These results serve as the foundation for understanding a wide range of hysteretic current–voltage behaviour observed in many nanoscale electronic devices2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19 that involve the motion of charged atomic or molecular species, in particular certain titanium dioxide cross-point switches20,21,22.

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Figure 1: The four fundamental two-terminal circuit elements: resistor, capacitor, inductor and memristor.
Figure 2: The coupled variable-resistor model for a memristor.
Figure 3: Simulations of a voltage-driven memristive device.


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This research was conducted with partial support from DARPA and DTO.

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Correspondence to R. Stanley Williams.

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Strukov, D., Snider, G., Stewart, D. et al. The missing memristor found. Nature 453, 80–83 (2008).

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