Representative image.
Representative image.

Researchers fabricate metallic nanowire network with brain-like functions

ANI | Updated: Dec 25, 2019 15:36 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec 25 (ANI): An international joint research team succeeded in fabricating a neuromorphic network composed of numerous metallic nanowires. Using this network, the team was able to generate electrical characteristics similar to those associated with higher-order brain functions unique to humans, such as memorisation, learning, forgetting, becoming alert and returning to calm. The team then clarified the mechanisms that induced these electrical characteristics.
The development of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques has been rapidly advancing in recent years and has begun impacting our lives in various ways. Although AI processes information in a manner similar to the human brain, the mechanisms by which human brains operate are still largely unknown. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Fundamental brain components, such as neurons and the junctions between them (synapses), have been studied in detail. However, many questions concerning the brain as a collective whole need to be answered.
A different approach to brain research in which materials and systems capable of performing brain-like functions are created and their mechanisms are investigated may be effective in identifying new applications of brain-like information processing and advancing brain science.
The integrating numerous silver (Ag) nanowires coated with a polymer (PVP) insulating layer app joint research team recently built a complex brain-like network by proximately 1 nanometer in thickness.
A junction between two nanowires forms a variable resistive element (i.e., a synaptic element) that behaves like a neuronal synapse. This nanowire network, which contains a large number of intricately interacting synaptic elements, forms a "neuromorphic network".
When a voltage was applied to the neuromorphic network, it appeared to "struggle" to find optimal current pathways (i.e., the most electrically efficient pathways).
The observed temporal fluctuations also resemble the processes by which the brain becomes alert or returns to calm. Brain-like functions simulated by the neuromorphic network were found to occur as the huge number of synaptic elements in the network collectively work to optimize current transport, in the other words, as a result of self-organized and emerging dynamic processes.
The research team is currently developing a brain-like memory device using the neuromorphic network material. The team intends to design the memory device to operate using fundamentally different principles than those used in current computers. (ANI)