Natural computing with complex atomic switch networks


Self-organizing devices can be used to overcome known scaling limits in electronic computing, resulting in networks with unique operational characteristics which may help solving complex problems. The multi-electrode array developed here consists of a silicon substrate with platinum electrodes and an atomic switch network comprised of electro-deposited self-organized silver nanowires on a grid of copper posts, thus combining bottom-up and top-down approaches. Controlling the copper seed size enabled tailoring the forms and dimensions of the silver structures. Overlapping junctions of the silver nanostructures were isolated by converting them to Ag2S, resulting in Ag/Ag2S/Ag atomic junctions which were used as base for atomic switches.

Opposite to single memristors, the combined network created novel dynamic behavior, including information about the network state in the output signal as an additional nonlinearity. In this way, similar systems can be used for natural computing and finally lead to a novel hardware platform which may overcome recent borders of CMOS technology.

E. C. Demis, R. Aguilera, H. O. Sillin, K. Scharnhorst, E. J. Sandouk, M. Aono, A. Z. Stieg, J. K. Gimzewski
Atomic switch networks - nanoarchitectonic design of a complex system for natural computing
Nanotechnology 26, 204003 (2015)