Summary
A memristor (ˈmɛmrᵻstər; a portmanteau of memory resistor) is a non-linear two-terminal electrical component relating electric charge and magnetic flux linkage. It was described and named in 1971 by Leon Chua, completing a theoretical quartet of fundamental electrical components which comprises also the resistor, capacitor and inductor. Chua and Kang later generalized the concept to memristive systems. Such a system comprises a circuit, of multiple conventional components, which mimics key properties of the ideal memristor component and is also commonly referred to as a memristor. Several such memristor system technologies have been developed, notably ReRAM. The identification of memristive properties in electronic devices has attracted controversy. Experimentally, the ideal memristor has yet to be demonstrated. Chua in his 1971 paper identified a theoretical symmetry between the non-linear resistor (voltage vs. current), non-linear capacitor (voltage vs. charge), and non-linear inductor (magnetic flux linkage vs. current). From this symmetry he inferred the characteristics of a fourth fundamental non-linear circuit element, linking magnetic flux and charge, which he called the memristor. In contrast to a linear (or non-linear) resistor, the memristor has a dynamic relationship between current and voltage, including a memory of past voltages or currents. Other scientists had proposed dynamic memory resistors such as the memistor of Bernard Widrow, but Chua introduced a mathematical generality. The memristor was originally defined in terms of a non-linear functional relationship between magnetic flux linkage Φm(t) and the amount of electric charge that has flowed, q(t): The magnetic flux linkage, Φm, is generalized from the circuit characteristic of an inductor. It does not represent a magnetic field here. Its physical meaning is discussed below. The symbol Φm may be regarded as the integral of voltage over time.
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