Writing to and reading from a nano-scale crossbar memory based on memristors.
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We present a design study for a nano-scale crossbar memory system that uses memristors with symmetrical but highly nonlinear current-voltage characteristics as memory elements. The memory is non-volatile since the memristors retain their state when un-powered. In order to address the nano-wires that make up this nano-scale crossbar, we use two coded demultiplexers implemented using mixed-scale crossbars (in which CMOS-wires cross nano-wires and in which the crosspoint junctions have one-time configurable memristors). This memory system does not utilize the kind of devices (diodes or transistors) that are normally used to isolate the memory cell being written to and read from in conventional memories. Instead, special techniques are introduced to perform the writing and the reading operation reliably by taking advantage of the nonlinearity of the type of memristors used. After discussing both writing and reading strategies for our memory system in general, we focus on a 64 x 64 memory array and present simulation results that show the feasibility of these writing and reading procedures. Besides simulating the case where all device parameters assume exactly their nominal value, we also simulate the much more realistic case where the device parameters stray around their nominal value: we observe a degradation in margins, but writing and reading is still feasible. These simulation results are based on a device model for memristors derived from measurements of fabricated devices in nano-scale crossbars using Pt and Ti nano-wires and using oxygen-depleted TiO(2) as the switching material.