In this paper, the recent progress of synaptic electronics is reviewed. The basics of biological synaptic plasticity and learning are described. The material properties and electrical switching characteristics of a variety of synaptic devices are discussed, with a focus on the use of synaptic devices for neuromorphic or brain-inspired computing. Performance metrics desirable for large-scale implementations of synaptic devices are illustrated. A review of recent work on targeted computing applications with synaptic devices is presented.
The class of materials combining high electrical or thermal conductivity, optical transparency and flexibility is crucial for the development of many future electronic and optoelectronic devices. Silver nanowire networks show very promising results and represent a viable alternative to the commonly used, scarce and brittle indium tin oxide. The science and technology research of such networks are reviewed to provide a better understanding of the physical and chemical properties of this nanowire-based material while opening attractive new applications.
Super-stretchable, skin-mountable, and ultra-soft strain sensors are presented by using carbon nanotube percolation network-silicone rubber nanocomposite thin films. The applicability of the strain sensors as epidermal electronic systems, in which mechanical compliance like human skin and high stretchability (epsilon > 100%) are required, has been explored. The sensitivity of the strain sensors can be tuned by the number density of the carbon nanotube percolation network. The strain sensors show excellent hysteresis performance at different strain levels and rates with high linearity and small drift. We found that the carbon nanotube-silicone rubber based strain sensors possess super-stretchability and high reliability for strains as large as 500%. The nanocomposite thin films exhibit high robustness and excellent resistance-strain dependency for over similar to 1380% mechanical strain. Finally, we performed skin motion detection by mounting the strain sensors on different parts of the body. The maximum induced strain by the bending of the finger, wrist, and elbow was measured to be similar to 42%, 45% and 63%, respectively.
This review focuses on electrochemical metallization memory cells (ECM), highlighting their advantages as the next generation memories. In a brief introduction, the basic switching mechanism of ECM cells is described and the historical development is sketched. In a second part, the full spectra of materials and material combinations used for memory device prototypes and for dedicated studies are presented. In a third part, the specific thermodynamics and kinetics of nanosized electrochemical cells are described. The overlapping of the space charge layers is found to be most relevant for the cell properties at rest. The major factors determining the functionality of the ECM cells are the electrode reaction and the transport kinetics. Depending on electrode and/or electrolyte material electron transfer, electro-crystallization or slow diffusion under strong electric fields can be rate determining. In the fourth part, the major device characteristics of ECM cells are explained. Emphasis is placed on switching speed, forming and SET/RESET voltage, R-ON to R-OFF ratio, endurance and retention, and scaling potentials. In the last part, circuit design aspects of ECM arrays are discussed, including the pros and cons of active and passive arrays. In the case of passive arrays, the fundamental sneak path problem is described and as well as a possible solution by two anti-serial (complementary) interconnected resistive switches per cell. Furthermore, the prospects of ECM with regard to further scalability and the ability for multi-bit data storage are addressed.
This review article summarized the recent understanding of resistance switching (RS) behavior in several binary oxide thin film systems. Among the various RS materials and mechanisms, TiO2 and NiO thin films in unipolar thermo-chemical switching mode are primarily dealt with. To facilitate the discussions, the RS was divided into three parts; electroforming, set and reset steps. After short discussions on the electrochemistry of 'electrolytic' oxide materials, the general and peculiar aspects of these RS systems and mechanism are elaborated. Although the RS behaviors and characteristics of these materials are primarily dependent on the repeated formation and rupture of the conducting filaments (CFs) at the nanoscale at a localized position, this mechanism appears to offer a basis for the understanding of other RS mechanisms which were originally considered to be irrelevant to the localized events. The electroforming and set switching phenomena were understood as the process of CF formation and rejuvenation, respectively, which are mainly driven by the thermally assisted electromigration and percolation (or even local phase transition) of defects, while the reset process was understood as the process of CF rupture where the thermal energy plays a more crucial role. This review also contains several remarks on the outlook of these resistance change devices as a semiconductor memory.
We present a critical review of the state of the art of magnetic particle hyperthermia (MPH) as a minimal invasive tumour therapy. Magnetic principles of heating mechanisms are discussed with respect to the optimum choice of nanoparticle properties. In particular, the relation between superparamagnetic and ferrimagnetic single domain nanoparticles is clarified in order to choose the appropriate particle size distribution and the role of particle mobility for the relaxation path is discussed. Knowledge of the effect of particle properties for achieving high specific heating power provides necessary guidelines for development of nanoparticles tailored for tumour therapy. Nanoscale heat transfer processes are discussed with respect to the achievable temperature increase in cancer cells. The need to realize a well-controlled temperature distribution in tumour tissue represents the most serious problem of MPH, at present. Visionary concepts of particle administration, in particular by means of antibody targeting, are far from clinical practice, yet. On the basis of current knowledge of treating cancer by thermal damaging, this article elucidates possibilities, prospects, and challenges for establishment of MPH as a standard medical procedure.
We report sub-nanosecond switching of a metal-oxide-metal memristor utilizing a broadband 20 GHz experimental setup developed to observe fast switching dynamics. Set and reset operations were successfully performed in the tantalum oxide memristor using pulses with durations of 105 and 120 ps, respectively. Reproducibility of the sub-nanosecond switching was also confirmed as the device switched over consecutive cycles.
Conventional neuro-computing architectures and artificial neural networks have often been developed with no or loose connections to neuroscience. As a consequence, they have largely ignored key features of biological neural processing systems, such as their extremely low-power consumption features or their ability to carry out robust and efficient computation using massively parallel arrays of limited precision, highly variable, and unreliable components. Recent developments in nano-technologies are making available extremely compact and low power, but also variable and unreliable solid-state devices that can potentially extend the offerings of availing CMOS technologies. In particular, memristors are regarded as a promising solution for modeling key features of biological synapses due to their nanoscale dimensions, their capacity to store multiple bits of information per element and the low energy required to write distinct states. In this paper, we first review the neuro-and neuromorphic computing approaches that can best exploit the properties of memristor and scale devices, and then propose a novel hybrid memristor-CMOS neuromorphic circuit which represents a radical departure from conventional neuro-computing approaches, as it uses memristors to directly emulate the biophysics and temporal dynamics of real synapses. We point out the differences between the use of memristors in conventional neuro-computing architectures and the hybrid memristor-CMOS circuit proposed, and argue how this circuit represents an ideal building block for implementing brain-inspired probabilistic computing paradigms that are robust to variability and fault tolerant by design.
Understanding the control of the optical and plasmonic properties of unique nanosystems-gold nanostars-both experimentally and theoretically permits superior design and fabrication for biomedical applications. Here, we present a new, surfactant-free synthesis method of biocompatible gold nanostars with adjustable geometry such that the plasmon band can be tuned into the near-infrared region 'tissue diagnostic window', which is most suitable for in vivo imaging. Theoretical modelling was performed for multiple-branched 3D nanostars and yielded absorption spectra in good agreement with experimental results. The plasmon band shift was attributed to variations in branch aspect ratio, and the plasmon band intensifies with increasing branch number, branch length, and overall star size. Nanostars showed an extremely strong two-photon photoluminescence (TPL) process. The TPL imaging of wheat-germ agglutinin (WGA) functionalized nanostars on BT549 breast cancer cells and of PEGylated nanostars circulating in the vasculature, examined through a dorsal window chamber in vivo in laboratory mouse studies, demonstrated that gold nanostars can serve as an efficient contrast agent for biological imaging applications.
The flexoelectric effect is the response of electric polarization to a mechanical strain gradient. It can be viewed as a higher-order effect with respect to piezoelectricity, which is the response of polarization to strain itself. However, at the nanoscale, where large strain gradients are expected, the flexoelectric effect becomes appreciable. Besides, in contrast to the piezoelectric effect, flexoelectricity is allowed by symmetry in any material. Due to these qualities flexoelectricity has attracted growing interest during the past decade. Presently, its role in the physics of dielectrics and semiconductors is widely recognized and the effect is viewed as promising for practical applications. On the other hand, the available theoretical and experimental results are rather contradictory, attesting to a limited understanding in the field. This review paper presents a critical analysis of the current knowledge on the flexoelectricity in common solids, excluding organic materials and liquid crystals.
The interfacial microcracks in the resin matrix composites are difficult to be detected and repaired. However, the self-healing concept provides opportunities to fabricate composites with unusual properties. In the present study, photothermal conversion Ag-Cu2S nanoparticles were immobilized onto poly(p-phenylene benzobisoxazole) (PBO) fibers via a polydopamine chemistry. Benefitting from the photothermal effects of Ag-Cu2S, the obtained PBO fibers (Ag-Cu2S-PBO) efficiently converted the light energy into heat under Xenon lamp irradiation. Then, single PBO fiber composites were prepared using thermoplastic polyurethane as the matrix. It was found that the interfacial damage caused by single fiber pull-out was simply self-healed by Xe light irradiation. This wonderful interfacial damage self-healing property was mainly attributed to the in situ heating generation via photothermal effects of Ag-Cu2S in the composite interface. This paper reports a novel strategy to construct advanced composites with light-triggered self-healing properties, which will provide inspiration for preparing high performance composite materials.
Graphene oxide (GO) was successfully prepared by a modified Hummer's method. The reduction effect and mechanism of the as-prepared GO reduced with hydrazine hydrate at different temperatures and time were characterized by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), elemental analysis (EA), x-ray diffractions (XRD), Raman spectroscopy and thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA). The results showed that the reduction effect of GO mainly depended on treatment temperature instead of treatment time. Desirable reduction of GO can only be obtained at high treatment temperature. Reduced at 95 degrees C for 3 h, the C/O atomic ratio of GO increased from 3.1 to 15.1, which was impossible to obtain at low temperatures, such as 80, 60 or 15 degrees C, even for longer reduction time. XPS, 13C NMR and FTIR results show that most of the epoxide groups bonded to graphite during the oxidation were removed from GO and form the sp(2) structure after being reduced by hydrazine hydrate at high temperature (>60 degrees C), leading to the electric conductivity of GO increasing from 1.5 x 10 (6) to 5 S cm(-1), while the hydroxyls on the surface of GO were not removed by hydrazine hydrate even at high temperature. Additionally, the FTIR, XRD and Raman spectrum indicate that the GO reduced by hydrazine hydrate can not be entirely restored to the pristine graphite structures. XPS and FTIR data also suggest that carbonyl and carboxyl groups can be reduced by hydrazine hydrate and possibly form hydrazone, but not a C=C structure.
Apart from conventional materials, the study of two-dimensional (2D) materials has emerged as a significant field of study for a variety of applications. Graphene-like 2D materials are important elements of potential optoelectronics applications due to their exceptional electronic and optical properties. The processing of these materials towards the realization of devices has been one of the main motivations for the recent development of photonics and optoelectronics. The recent progress in photonic devices based on graphene-like 2D materials, especially topological insulators (TIs) and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) with the methodology level discussions from the viewpoint of state-of-the-art designs in device geometry and materials are detailed in this review. We have started the article with an overview of the electronic properties and continued by highlighting their linear and nonlinear optical properties. The production of TIs and TMDs by different methods is detailed. The following main applications focused towards device fabrication are elaborated: (1) photodetectors, (2) photovoltaic devices, (3) light-emitting devices, (4) flexible devices and (5) laser applications. The possibility of employing these 2D materials in different fields is also suggested based on their properties in the prospective part. This review will not only greatly complement the detailed knowledge of the device physics of these materials, but also provide contemporary perception for the researchers who wish to consider these materials for various applications by following the path of graphene.
Metal and semiconductor oxides are ubiquitous electronic materials. Normally insulating, oxides can change behavior under high electric fields-through 'electroforming' or 'breakdown'-critically affecting CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) logic, DRAM (dynamic random access memory) and flash memory, and tunnel barrier oxides. An initial irreversible electroforming process has been invariably required for obtaining metal oxide resistance switches, which may open urgently needed new avenues for advanced computer memory and logic circuits including ultra-dense non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) and adaptive neuromorphic logic circuits. This electrical switching arises from the coupled motion of electrons and ions within the oxide material, as one of the first recognized examples of a memristor (memory-resistor) device, the fourth fundamental passive circuit element originally predicted in 1971 by Chua. A lack of device repeatability has limited technological implementation of oxide switches, however. Here we explain the nature of the oxide electroforming as an electro-reduction and vacancy creation process caused by high electric fields and enhanced by electrical Joule heating with direct experimental evidence. Oxygen vacancies are created and drift towards the cathode, forming localized conducting channels in the oxide. Simultaneously, O2- ions drift towards the anode where they evolve O-2 gas, causing physical deformation of the junction. The problematic gas eruption and physical deformation are mitigated by shrinking to the nanoscale and controlling the electroforming voltage polarity. Better yet, electroforming problems can be largely eliminated by engineering the device structure to remove 'bulk' oxide effects in favor of interface-controlled electronic switching.
Desalination of seawater and brackish water is becoming an increasingly important means to address the scarcity of fresh water resources in the world. Decreasing the energy requirements and infrastructure costs of existing desalination technologies remains a challenge. By enabling the manipulation of matter and control of transport at nanometer length scales, the emergence of nanotechnology offers new opportunities to advance water desalination technologies. This review focuses on nanostructured materials that are directly involved in the separation of water from salt as opposed to mitigating issues such as fouling. We discuss separation mechanisms and novel transport phenomena in materials including zeolites, carbon nanotubes, and graphene with potential applications to reverse osmosis, capacitive deionization, and multi-stage flash, among others. Such nanostructured materials can potentially enable the development of next-generation desalination systems with increased efficiency and capacity.
The interactions between four different graphenes (including pristine, B- or N-doped and defective graphenes) and small gas molecules (CO, NO, NO2 and NH3) were investigated by using density functional computations to exploit their potential applications as gas sensors. The structural and electronic properties of the graphene-molecule adsorption adducts are strongly dependent on the graphene structure and the molecular adsorption configuration. All four gas molecules show much stronger adsorption on the doped or defective graphenes than that on the pristine graphene. The defective graphene shows the highest adsorption energy with CO, NO and NO2 molecules, while the B- doped graphene gives the tightest binding with NH3. Meanwhile, the strong interactions between the adsorbed molecules and the modified graphenes induce dramatic changes to graphene's electronic properties. The transport behavior of a gas sensor using B- doped graphene shows a sensitivity two orders of magnitude higher than that of pristine graphene. This work reveals that the sensitivity of graphene-based chemical gas sensors could be drastically improved by introducing the appropriate dopant or defect.
The application of silver nanowire films as transparent conductive electrodes has shown promising results recently. In this paper, we demonstrate the application of a simple spray coating technique to obtain large scale, highly uniform and conductive silver nanowire films on arbitrary substrates. We also integrated a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-assisted contact transfer technique with spray coating, which allowed us to obtain large scale high quality patterned films of silver nanowires. The transparency and conductivity of the films was controlled by the volume of the dispersion used in spraying and the substrate area. We note that the optoelectrical property, sigma(DC)/sigma(Op), for various films fabricated was in the range 75-350, which is extremely high for transparent thin film compared to other candidate alternatives to doped metal oxide film. Using this method, we obtain silver nanowire films on a flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate with a transparency of 85% and sheet resistance of 33 Omega/sq, which is comparable to that of tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) on flexible substrates. In-depth analysis of the film shows a high performance using another commonly used figure-of-merit, Phi(TE). Also, Ag nanowire film/PET shows good mechanical flexibility and the application of such a conductive silver nanowire film as an electrode in a touch panel has been demonstrated.
We review recent theoretical work on thermoelectric energy harvesting in multi-terminal quantum-dot setups. We first discuss several examples of nanoscale heat engines based on Coulomb-coupled conductors. In particular, we focus on quantum dots in the Coulomb-blockade regime, chaotic cavities and resonant tunneling through quantum dots and wells. We then turn toward quantum-dot heat engines that are driven by bosonic degrees of freedom such as phonons, magnons and microwave photons. These systems provide interesting connections to spin caloritronics and circuit quantum electrodynamics.
Dichalcogenides with the common formula MX2 are layered materials with electrical properties that range from semiconducting to superconducting. Here, we describe optimal imaging conditions for the optical detection of ultrathin, two-dimensional dichalcogenide nanocrystals containing single, double and triple layers of MoS2, WSe2 and NbSe2. A simple optical model is used to calculate the contrast for nanolayers deposited on wafers with varying thicknesses of SiO2. The model is extended for imaging using the green channel of a video camera. Using AFM and optical imaging we confirm that single layers of MoS2 and WSe2 can be detected on 90 and 270 nm SiO2 using optical means. By measuring contrast under broadband green illumination we are also able to distinguish between nanostructures containing single, double and triple layers of MoS2 and WSe2. We observe and discuss discrepancies in the case of NbSe2.
High-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) is now materialized. It allows direct visualization of dynamic structural changes and dynamic processes of functioning biological molecules in physiological solutions, at high spatiotemporal resolution. Dynamic molecular events unselectively appear in detail in an AFM movie, facilitating our understanding of how biological molecules operate to function. This review describes a historical overview of technical development towards HS-AFM, summarizes elementary devices and techniques used in the current HS-AFM, and then highlights recent imaging studies. Finally, future challenges of HS-AFM studies are briefly discussed.