Congratulations to Prof. C. David Wright whose work as lead of the EU H2020 project Fun-COMP was featured on the University’s main news webpage.
The team have created the first-ever integrated nanoscale device programmable with either photons or electrons. This device helps achieve faster and more energy efficient computer memories and processors. Fun-COMP is a collaboration between researchers at Universities of Exeter, Oxford and Münster, along with IBM Zurich, Thales Saclay, IMEC and C2N-CNRS.
This video, narrated by our third year PGR Emanuele Gemo, gives a short description of the integrated phase-change photonic memory, a device allowing to store and retrieve non-volatile information on optical chips.
Emanuele’s research project is focused on the theoretical study of this class of devices, and on the proposal of solutions to improve its energy, speed and memory density performances. This device architecture has the potential to be exploited not only for memory applications, but also for in-memory computing: this aim is pursued by the EU2020 funded Fun-COMP research project, led by Prof. C.David Wright, which is a collaboration between seven academic and industrial partners focused to create a light signal based – biologically inspired neuromorphic platform, of which the phase-change photonic memory is an integral part.
The video has been created for the Fun-COMP website, to explain to an extended audience this key building block, with simple terms and yet drawing upon all the essential elements.
The operation of a single class of optical materials in both a volatile and nonvolatile manner is becoming increasingly important in many applications. This is particularly true in the newly emerging field of photonic neuromorphic computing, where it is desirable to have both volatile (short‐term transient) and nonvolatile (long‐term static) memory operation, for instance, to mimic the behavior of biological neurons and synapses. The search for such materials thus far have focused on phase change materials where typically two different types are required for the two different operational regimes.
In this paper, a tunable volatile/nonvolatile response is demonstrated in a photonic phase‐change memory cell based on the commonly employed nonvolatile material Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST). A time‐dependent, multiphysics simulation framework is developed to corroborate the experimental results, allowing us to spatially resolve the recrystallization dynamics within the memory cell. It is then demonstrated that this unique approach to photonic memory enables both data storage with tunable volatility and detection of coincident events between two pulse trains on an integrated chip. Finally, improved efficiency and all‐optical routing with controlled volatility are demonstrated in a ring resonator. These crucial results show that volatility is intrinsically tunable in normally nonvolatile GST which can be used in both regimes interchangeably.