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Nat Mater. 2017 Apr;16(4):414-418. doi: 10.1038/nmat4856. Epub 2017 Feb 20.

A non-volatile organic electrochemical device as a low-voltage artificial synapse for neuromorphic computing.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, 9747AG Gronigen, The Netherlands.
Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, California 94551, USA.
Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, 13566-590 São Carlos, SP, Brasil.
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87123, USA.


The brain is capable of massively parallel information processing while consuming only ∼1-100 fJ per synaptic event. Inspired by the efficiency of the brain, CMOS-based neural architectures and memristors are being developed for pattern recognition and machine learning. However, the volatility, design complexity and high supply voltages for CMOS architectures, and the stochastic and energy-costly switching of memristors complicate the path to achieve the interconnectivity, information density, and energy efficiency of the brain using either approach. Here we describe an electrochemical neuromorphic organic device (ENODe) operating with a fundamentally different mechanism from existing memristors. ENODe switches at low voltage and energy (<10 pJ for 103 μm2 devices), displays >500 distinct, non-volatile conductance states within a ∼1 V range, and achieves high classification accuracy when implemented in neural network simulations. Plastic ENODes are also fabricated on flexible substrates enabling the integration of neuromorphic functionality in stretchable electronic systems. Mechanical flexibility makes ENODes compatible with three-dimensional architectures, opening a path towards extreme interconnectivity comparable to the human brain.

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