NIST: www.nist.gov

See a video on the flexible memory at: www.nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/tb2009_0602.htm#memristor

Engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed a flexible memory using inexpensive manufacturing techniques. They deposited titanium dioxide on a polymer sheet using a sol gel process in which the material is placed on the sheet, spun, then left to set. This is a much less-expensive technique than the way titanium is normally deposited on memory chips. The NIST team then added electrical contacts. The memory operates on less than 10 V, retains data after power is removed, and has been shown to work after being flexed more than 4,000 times.

The device also seems to act like a memristor, a component theorized in 1971 as the fourth fundamental circuit element (along with the resistor, capacitor, and inductor.) The resistance of a memristor depends on the amount of current flowing through it. It keeps this resistance after power is turned off. NIST plans on establishing metrics to describe memristors and explore ways to use them in future circuits.