Memory Resistor


A memory resistor, or memristor, is a type of passive electrical device that can change its resistance based on the history of voltage or current applied to it. Essentially, it is a non-volatile memory element that retains its state even when the power is turned off. Memristors are used in various applications, such as computer memory, neuromorphic computing, and low-power electronics.

Key Takeaways

  1. A memory resistor, or memristor, is a type of passive electronic component that functions like a resistor with memory capabilities, retaining information about the amount and direction of charge that has passed through it.
  2. Memristors have the potential to significantly improve memory storage and processing technology, enabling faster and more energy-efficient devices, particularly in the field of non-volatile memory systems.
  3. Discovered in 2008 by R. Stanley Williams at HP Labs, memristors are considered the fourth fundamental circuit element, alongside resistors, capacitors, and inductors, and are predicted to play a crucial role in the future of electronics and computing.


The term “Memory Resistor,” commonly known as memristor, is important in technology because it is a unique type of passive electronic component that can both store and regulate the flow of electrical current in a circuit.

Having the ability to remember the resistance value even after the power is disconnected, memristors combine properties of both resistors and memory elements.

This revolutionary capability enables the development of non-volatile memory devices, neuromorphic computing systems, and advanced energy-efficient electronics.

As a crucial element in modern technology, memristors have the potential to reshape the landscape of computing systems, enabling faster and more efficient processing, storage, and communication technologies.


A memory resistor, commonly referred to as a memristor, is a unique electronic component that has the ability to retain its resistance state even when the electrical power is disconnected. This advanced feature allows for efficient processing and storage of information in electronic circuits. The primary purpose of a memristor is to bridge the gap between traditional electronic components, such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors, and the digital world of computing.

By incorporating non-volatile properties in the circuitry, memristors enable swift adjustments of resistance, which in turn facilitate the efficient storage and manipulation of data. In recent years, memristors have witnessed an upsurge in demand, primarily in the realms of computing and electronic memory technology. Some of their most promising applications include non-volatile memory units, neuromorphic computing systems, and analog computing devices.

Utilizing memristors in these technologies results in faster access times, increased power efficiency, and higher data retention capacity. Their neuromorphic computing potential, in particular, has garnered significant attention as they emulate the data processing behavior found in biological neurons, which could ultimately revolutionize artificial intelligence and machine learning processes. With such diverse and transformative applications, the memory resistor stands out as a crucial electronic component that could redefine the landscape of next-generation technologies.

Examples of Memory Resistor

A memory resistor, also known as a memristor, is a passive two-terminal electronic component that regulates the flow of electrical current and also has the ability to retain its resistance value even after the power is turned off. Here are three real-world examples associated with the memristor technology:

HP’s Memristor Research: Hewlett-Packard (HP) has invested significantly in the development of memristor technology since the early 2000s. HP has worked on creating non-volatile memory devices using memristors, aiming to develop a new class of storage devices with faster performance and higher data density than traditional flash memory.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Neuromorphic Computing: Memristors have shown great potential in the field of artificial intelligence and neuromorphic computing, which aims to mimic the learning process and synaptic connections found in biological brains. Memristors can be used to create artificial synapses, enabling more efficient learning algorithms, and accelerating tasks like image and speech recognition. An example of this is Intel’s experimental Loihi neuromorphic chip that uses memristors to enable real-time learning capabilities and adaptive behavior.

ReRAM (Resistive Random Access Memory): ReRAM is a type of non-volatile memory (NVM) which utilizes memristors as storage components. Companies like Crossbar Inc., Adesto Technologies, and Panasonic have been working on developing ReRAM technology that can potentially offer faster read and write speeds, lower power consumption, and higher storage density compared to traditional flash memory. These characteristics make ReRAM an attractive option for a wide range of applications, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, data centers, and consumer electronics.

Memory Resistor FAQ

What is a Memory Resistor?

A Memory Resistor, also known as a memristor, is a non-linear electronic component that can store information about the electrical resistance of the circuit between its terminals. It remembers its resistance even after the power is turned off, thus making it a useful component in non-volatile memory and neuromorphic computing applications.

Who discovered the Memory Resistor?

Dr. Leon Chua, an electrical engineer and computer scientist, first theorized the concept of a Memory Resistor or memristor in 1971. However, it was not until 2008 that a team at Hewlett-Packard Labs, led by Dr. R. Stanley Williams, successfully created a working memristor.

How does a Memory Resistor work?

A Memory Resistor works by changing its resistance based on the voltage applied across its terminals and the duration of the applied voltage. When a voltage is applied, the resistance of the memristor changes, and when the voltage is removed, the memristor retains its new resistance value. This allows the memristor to store binary information as different resistance states, thus functioning as non-volatile memory.

What are the applications of Memory Resistors?

Memory Resistors have several applications, such as non-volatile memory devices, neuromorphic computing systems, and analog computing circuits. They can be used in storage-class memory, offering faster read/write speeds and better durability than traditional flash memory. Additionally, they can be used in neuromorphic computing systems designed to mimic the human brain’s structure – enabling improved artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.

What are the advantages of Memory Resistors?

Memory Resistors offer several advantages over traditional electronic components, such as non-volatile memory storage, low power consumption, and high-density integration. Their ability to retain information when power is removed makes them ideal for energy-efficient devices, and their potential for high-density integration can lead to smaller, faster, and more powerful electronic devices. Another advantage is their potential use in neuromorphic computing, paving the way for advanced AI and machine learning systems.

Related Technology Terms

  • Non-volatile memory
  • Memristive systems
  • Memristor-based synaptic devices
  • Neuromorphic computing
  • Resistance switching

Sources for More Information

  • Nature – A renowned multidisciplinary scientific journal with a comprehensive section on memory resistors.
  • IEEE Xplore – A digital library containing a vast collection of scientific articles, including numerous papers on memory resistors and related technologies.
  • ScienceDirect – A platform providing access to thousands of scientific journals and books, where you can find articles and publications focused on memory resistors and their applications.
  • ResearchGate – A social networking site for scientists and researchers, allowing you to connect with professionals in the field and access their publications on memory resistor technology.

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