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Ultra-low switching Energy Memories to artificial neurons

February 22, 2021 - 11:00am
T. Venky Venkatesan
National University of Singapore

Memory devices are responsible for a significant fraction of the energy consumed in electronic systems- typically 25% in a laptop and 50% in a server station. Reducing the energy consumption of memories is an important goal. For the evolving field of artificial intelligence, the compatible devices must simulate a neuron. We are working on three different approaches towards these problems- one involving an organic metal centred azo complex, the other involving oxide based ferroelectric tunnel junctions and the last involving real live neuronal circuits. 


In the organic memristors that we have built on oxide surfaces the device performance exceeds the ITRS roadmap specification significantly demonstrating the viability of this system for practical applications. More than that, these organic memories exhibit multiple states arising from interplay of redox states, counter ion location (studied by in-situ Raman and UV-Vis measurements) and molecular self-assembly leading to the possibility of neuronal systems. These molecular devices are extremely stable and reproducible- a significant departure from conventional organic electronics. 


On the oxide- front the significant results are that ferroelectric tunnelling is seen even in barriers with single and two atomic layers of BaTiO3 or BiFeO3. Oxygen vacancy motion can also play an important role in changing the device characteristics leading to synaptic characteristics. Last but not the least, oxide surfaces can be utilized to force neurons to grow at specific places on a surface giving the potential for fabricating live neuronal circuits.


T. Venkatesan- A Short Biography

Prof. T. Venkatesan is currently the Chairman and CEO of Neocera Magma, a company specializing in magnetic microscopy applications in the semiconductor industry. He is also the President of Neocera, a company specializing in PLD tools. He is currently the Director Designate at the Center for Quantum Research and Technology at University of Oklahoma and will be full time there after July 1, 2021. Prior to this he was Director of the Nano Institute at the National University of Singapore (NUSNNI) where he was a Professor of ECE, Physics, MSE and NGS. He wore various hats at Bell Labs and Bellcore before becoming a Professor at University of Maryland. As the inventor of the pulsed laser deposition (PLD) process, he has around 800 papers and 35 patents and is globally among the top one hundred physicists (ranked at 66 in 2000) in terms of his citations (~48,778 with a hirsch Index of 111-Google Scholar). He has graduated over 56 PhDs, 35 Post Docs and over 35 undergraduates. Close to 14 of the researchers (PhD students and Post Docs) under him have become entrepreneurs starting 25 different commercial enterprises. He is Fellow of the APS, winner of the Bellcore Award of excellence, Guest Professor at Tsinghua University, Winner of the George E. Pake Prize awarded by APS (2012), President’s gold medal of the Institute of Physics Singapore, Academician of the Asia Pacific Academy of Materials, Fellow of the World Innovation Forum, was a member of the Physics Policy Committee (Washington DC), the Board of Visitors at UMD and the Chairman, Forum of Industry and Applications of Physics at APS. He was awarded the outstanding alumnus award from two Indian Institute of Technologies- Kanpur (2015) and Kharagpur (2016), India. He has been awarded the 2020 APS Distinguished Lectureship Award on the Applications of Physics. He helped start in Singapore- Cellivate, Breathonix and Azometrix in the US.


We are hosting the Spring 2021 JQI Seminars virtually as Zoom meetings. JQI members and affiliates will receive a Zoom link in an email announcing each seminar. For those without access to Zoom, we will also be live streaming each seminar on YouTube. Once a seminar starts, you will find a link to the live stream on our YouTube page at is external)(link is external)

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