Advanced Memristor Materials and 3D Integration Architectures

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF 09TT23
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
1250 Capital of Texas Highway South, Building 3, Suite 400, Austin, TX, 78746
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Burt Fowler
Principal Investigator
(512) 431-8460
Business Contact:
Glenn Mortland
(512) 633-3476
Research Institution:
Rice University
James M Tour
6100 Main St. MS 222
Houston, TX, 77005
(713) 348-6246
Nonprofit college or university
PrivaTran proposes the use of newly-developed manufacturing methods that convert materials commonly found in conventional integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing into memristor devices with increased packing density and an advanced, three-dimensional (3D) architecture. The memristor devices can be formed in the interconnect layers of a conventional IC so that the area available for underlying transistors is not affected. This approach results in a 3D architecture achieved using a single substrate without the need for bonding multiple die together with flip-chip or through-silicon-via technologies. Furthermore, the memristor devices are much smaller than single transistors for any given technology node, and will scale to smaller dimensions as IC technology continues to progress towards smaller and smaller transistor sizes. The two-terminal memristor devices have numerous advantages including on/off conductance ratios greater than 104, reversible and fast switching, long retention times and immunity to current-induced degradation. In addition, their inherent simplicity makes them highly compatible with Si-based microelectronics technology, leading to a 3D architecture that can be readily transferred into semiconductor products at the most basic, integrated circuit level. BENEFIT: The memristor is of great interest to the Department of Defense (DoD) since it can potentially revolutionize numerous analog and digital circuit technologies. Specific Air Force applications that would benefit from this technology include tunable RF circuits in software defined radios, delta sigma modulators, and analog-to-digital converters (ADC). Furthermore, memristors can theoretically be used to simulate the human synapse, making them useful for non-Boolean, neuromorphic computing, which is an attractive computing technique due to its massive parallelism, scalability, and inherent fault-tolerance. Such neuromorphic computers could lead to game changing capabilities in managing and exploiting the global information grid, as well as enabling revolutionary advancements in cyber information processing and "cloud computing," which requires an IT infrastructure of hundreds of thousands of servers and storage systems. The memristor can also be used for nonvolatile memory. Applications include radiation hardened devices for space-based surveillance platforms, launch vehicles and miniature kill vehicles for the MDA ballistic missile defense system; integrated sensor systems for imaging sensors used for automatic object identification and target recognition; friend or foe identification; and theater threat assessment. The DoD is aggressively developing robotic technologies for unmanned and totally autonomous air, ground, and sea vehicles which require a multitude of sensors and high-speed, high-density, low-power memories for obstacle detection, identification, and avoidance, as well as the recording, compression, decoding, and real time image processing of imaging sensor data.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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