The “Internet of things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. Internet of Things (IoT) needs components and chips that can handle huge quantities of data. Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have designed printable, organic thin films for “neuromorphic” computers inspired by the human brain, which will help power Internet of Things.
In 2020, there will already be 50 billion industrial internet sensors in place all around us. A single autonomous device – a smartwatch, a cleaning robot, or a driverless car – can produce gigabytes of data each day, whereas an Airbus may have over 10,000 sensors in one wing alone.
Current transistors in computer chips must be miniaturized to the size of only a few nanometres, and analyzing and storing unprecedented amounts of data will require huge amounts of energy. Sayani Majumdar, from the Aalto University in Finland, along with her colleagues, designed and fabricated the basic building blocks of “neuromorphic” computers inspired by the human brain.
“The key is to achieve the extreme energy-efficiency of a biological brain and mimic the way neural networks process information through electric impulses,” she said. In a study published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, researchers showed how they have fabricated a new breed of ‘ferroelectric tunnel junctions’, that is, few- nanometre-thick ferroelectric thin films sandwiched between two electrodes.
They have abilities beyond existing technologies and bode well for energy-efficient and stable neuromorphic computing. The junctions work at low voltages of less than five volts and with a variety of electrode materials – including silicon used in chips in most of our electronics. They also can retain data for more than 10 years without power and be manufactured in normal conditions.
They are going to make thousands of junctions a day in room temperature without them suffering from the water or oxygen in the air, For now, they are striving to integrate millions of our tunnel junction memristors into a network on a one square centimeter area.
They need to pack so many in such a small space in order to achieve a record of high difference in the current between on and off-states in the junctions and that provides functional stability.