Prof. Wei Lu, assistant professor in division of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recently awarded an NSF CAREER grant for his research project, “Understanding, Development and Applications of Nanoscale Memristor Devices.”
The objective of this research is to develop unconventional, high-performance memory and logic systems based on nanoscale two-terminal resistive switches (memristors). The approach is to carry out a systematic material and device study that includes understanding the device operation from atomic-scale imaging and transport measurements; designing a new device structure to improve device reliability and performance; demonstrating memristor/CMOS integration; and discovering new device and circuit functionality.
Memristor is a concise term for two-terminal resistance switching devices with inherent memory. Recently proposed memristor/CMOS hybrid circuits can provide unmatched density and connectivity and offer a promising approach for electronics beyond transistor scaling.
This research addresses critical fundamental and practical questions related to memristor research. It will enable the development of key nanoelectronic systems such as non-volatile universal memories with tera-bit density and sub 10 ns access time, and reconfigurable logic systems with function density two-orders of magnitude higher than conventional circuits. Knowledge and techniques developed here will further stimulate studies on new computing paradigms.
Besides having an immediate impact on semiconductor research, this program aims to convey the excitement of nanotechnology to students and the public through a number of educational and outreach activities. Students from underrepresented groups will be recruited to work directly on the project. Research results will be incorporated into a new undergraduate course and disseminated to the general public through publications, technology transfer, websites and a textbook. High-school students in inner-city, high-need school districts will be engaged through a teaching module development, class visits and online exhibits.
Prof. Lu conducts research in the areas of nanoelectronics, memory and logic circuits based on two-terminal resistive switches (memristors), devices based on semiconductor nanowires and heterostructures, solid state quantum devices, and nanoelectromechanical systems.
The CAREER grant is one of NSF’s most prestigious awards, conferred for “the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization.”