Researchers at the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), IISc, have developed a highly energy-efficient computing platform which offers promise in building next-generation electronic devices.
According to IISc, the CeNSE researchers in two recent studies reported the development of this highly energy-efficient computing platform.
“Instead of using complementary metal-oxide semiconductors (CMOS), which are the building blocks of most electronic circuits today, the team used components called memristors that can both store data and perform computation. By designing unique memristors based on metal-organic complexes, the team could cut down the number of components needed in a circuit, greatly increasing the speed and efficiency,” IISc said in a press release.
Molecular circuit element
“We have now discovered a molecular circuit element that can capture complex logic functions within itself, facilitating in-memory computations in a smaller number of time steps and using much fewer elements than usual,” said Sreetosh Goswami, assistant professor at CeNSE who led both the studies published in Advanced Materials.
Existing computing architectures process and store data at separate physical locations. The back-and-forth communication between two locations consumes the lion’s share of the computing energy. “We are resolving this problem by performing both computation and storage at the same physical location,” Prof. Goswami.
He added that the platform “outperforms” the current state-of-the-art technologies by orders of magnitude. “We are [now] able to make arrays of devices that are more robust, consistent, and stable even compared to commercial technologies like flash memories,” Prof. Goswami added.
Previously developed memristor-based circuits also suffer from limitations in speed and have a greater chance of errors accumulating because they carry out operations sequentially. The design of the new platform reduces the number of operational steps, increasing speed and reducing error, the researchers say.
The metal-organic complexes used to build their platform were designed by Sreebrata Goswami, specialist scientist at CeNSE.
When they built circuits that carry out mathematical operations and compared them with a typical CMOS circuit, the team found that the new platform offered 47 times higher energy efficiency and 93 times faster operating speed, while only taking up 9% of the physical footprint.
Connecting to censor
Moving forward, the team plans to connect the platform to a sensor — for example, a smartphone screen that senses touch — and study how efficiently it processes the data it collects.