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Discovery of 'Memory' Crystal Resembles Human Brain Synapses

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BNN Correspondents
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Discovery of 'Memory' Crystal Resembles Human Brain Synapses

In a breakthrough that marks a significant stride in materials science, a research team led by Dr. Jack Mehl has identified a new type of crystal with a 'memory' of its own. Published in the esteemed 'Nature Communications' journal, the study explores the unique properties of this crystal, made from a perovskite compound, that enable it to change its electrical resistance based on the history of stress it has endured.

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Crystal with Synaptic Plasticity

What sets this crystal apart is its uncanny resemblance to the human brain's synapses. Like these neural junctions, the crystal exhibits a behavior akin to synaptic plasticity - the ability to strengthen or weaken over time in response to the intensity of its activity. This means that the crystal can respond differently to repeated mechanical stresses, based on its 'memory' of past experiences.

Memory that Lasts

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But how long does this memory last? The team's experiments revealed that the crystal retains a 'memory' of the stress for hours and even days. Moreover, the response can be fine-tuned by altering the strength and duration of the mechanical stresses applied.

Future Applications

The implications of this discovery are monumental. It suggests that such materials could be harnessed to develop more efficient and adaptable artificial synapses, potentially propelling advancements in neuromorphic computing - a field that seeks to mimic neural networks in the human brain. As our world progressively leans towards artificial intelligence and robotics, the potential of such a crystal becomes increasingly significant. Currently, the researchers are delving deeper, exploring ways to optimize the crystal's performance and integrate it into electronic devices.

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