What happened? Scientists have discovered the first-ever physical material capable of “remembering” its entire history of physical stimuli, similar to a brain. The team from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland stumbled upon the remarkable property while researching phase transitions of vanadium dioxide (VO2), a compound used in electronics. Ph.D. student Mohammad Samizadeh Nikoo attempted to figure out how long it takes for VO2 to transition from one state to another but soon realized that something never-before-seen was happening when an electric current was applied.
“When the sample heated up, its VO2 changed state. And when the current had passed, the material reverted to its original condition.” According to Professor Elison Matioli, who oversaw the study, “The VO2 appeared to ‘remember' the initial phase change and anticipate the next.”
"We didn't anticipate seeing this sort of memory effect, and it has nothing to do with electronic states; rather, it's due to the physical architecture of the material. It's a fascinating finding: no other substance behaves this way."
Why is this important and how will this impact human beings and our society? This discovery could lead to a new class of brain-like materials and devices with applications in computing, data storage, and brain-machine interfaces. The potential is huge! And it all started with a simple electric current.
In the future, we may see “smart” materials that can adapt and change based on their environment or experiences – just like our brain does. This could pave the way for breakthroughs in many different fields, from healthcare to transportation. So, even though this discovery was an accident, it’s definitely a happy one!
What do you think? Could this be the beginning of a new era of brain-like materials? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Author: Christian Kromme
First Appeared On: Disruptive Inspiration Daily
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