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Low-power linear computation using nonlinear ferroelectric tunnel junction memristors

Abstract

Analogue in-memory computing using memristors could alleviate the performance constraints imposed by digital von Neumann systems in data-intensive tasks. Conventional linear memristors typically operate at high currents, potentially limiting power efficiency and scalability in practical applications. Here, we show that nonlinear ferroelectric tunnel junction memristors can perform linear computation at ultralow currents. Using logarithmic line drivers, we demonstrate that analogue-voltage-amplitude vector–matrix multiplication (VMM) can be performed in selectorless ferroelectric tunnel junction crossbars by exploiting a device nonlinearity factor that remains constant for multiple conductive states. We also show that our ferroelectric tunnel junction crossbars have the attributes required to scale analogue VMM-intensive applications, such as neural inference engines, towards energy efficiencies above 100 tera-operations per second per watt.

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Fig. 1: FTJ device characteristics and selectorless crossbar programming.
Fig. 2: FTJ pulse write and IV fits for different device states.
Fig. 3: Linear effective conductance of FTJ memristors by logarithmic line biasing.
Fig. 4: Linear VMM with nonlinear FTJ crossbars and logarithmic line drivers.
Fig. 5: Performance metrics and comparison of VMM engines implemented by FTJ crossbars.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

We thank K. Nomura, S. Miyano and F. Tachibana for fruitful and insightful discussions. We also thank K. Mizushima for his kind feedback during the writing of this paper.

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R.B. conceived the idea, performed the experiments and analysed the results. T.M and Y.N. validated the measurements and simulations. K.O., M.Y., M.S. and S.F. manufactured the devices and contributed to the characterization. J.D. assisted in the estimations of system-level performance. All authors discussed the results and contributed to the writing and editing of the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Radu Berdan.

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Supplementary Figs. 1–21, Notes 1–11 and Tables 1–3.

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Berdan, R., Marukame, T., Ota, K. et al. Low-power linear computation using nonlinear ferroelectric tunnel junction memristors. Nat Electron 3, 259–266 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-020-0405-0

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