Hydrophobically gated memristive nanopores for neuromorphic applications

G Paulo and K Sun and G Di Muccio and A Gubbiotti and BM della Rocca and J Geng and G Maglia and M Chinappi and A Giacomello, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 14, 8390 (2023).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-44019-y

Signal transmission in the brain relies on voltage-gated ion channels, which exhibit the electrical behaviour of memristors, resistors with memory. State-of-the-art technologies currently employ semiconductor- based neuromorphic approaches, which have already demonstrated their efficacy in machine learning systems. However, these approaches still cannot match performance achieved by biological neurons in terms of energy efficiency and size. In this study, we utilise molecular dynamics simulations, continuum models, and electrophysiological experiments to propose and realise a bioinspired hydrophobically gated memristive nanopore. Our findings indicate that hydrophobic gating enables memory through an electrowetting mechanism, and we establish simple design rules accordingly. Through the engineering of a biological nanopore, we successfully replicate the characteristic hysteresis cycles of a memristor and construct a synaptic device capable of learning and forgetting. This advancement offers a promising pathway for the realization of nanoscale, cost- and energy-effective, and adaptable bioinspired memristors. Designing efficient nanoscale and adaptable bioinspired memristors remains a challenge. Here, the authors develop a bioinspired hydrophobically gated memristive nanopore capable of learning, forgetting, and retaining memory through an electrowetting mechanism.

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