How nanotechnology can enable human brain-like features in electronics?
Abstract: Richard Feynman in 1959 envisioned an era where matter can be engineered at an atomic scale—the era of nanotechnology. That era is now here—the transistors that power our electronics: cellphones, tablets, sensors, IoT devices are all products of the fascinating developments in nanotechnologies. Over the last couple of decades, making the devices smaller and smaller continuously allowed more than a billion transistors to be packed in each of our electronic gadgets making them more powerful than ever. That being said, the current challenge in electronics is that such miniaturization has reached the fundamental limits, and no further down-scaling may be possible in the near future. In this talk, we will first discuss how new classes of nano-materials such as ferroelectrics can make our nanoelectronic devices more power efficient. Secondly, we will make the point that our biological brains are far more powerful and energy efficient than any of our computers and electronics hardware—the human brain containing 1011 neurons and 1014 synapses performs all its feats at a power budget of 20 W and a weight of 1.5 kg. We will introduce the concept of a new generation of nanoscale devices which can mimic the properties of neurons and synapses. How the physics of novel ferroelectric devices can be merged with neuro-scientific principles to enable neuron and synapse like properties will be explained.
Asif Khan is an assistant professor of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. His group fabricates nanoelectronic devices that leverage new physics and phenomena in emerging material systems (such as ferro-/anti-ferroelectrics, multiferroics, complex and transition metal oxides and correlated electron systems). His work led to the first experimental proof-of-concept demonstration of the negative capacitance effect. His notable awards are the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship in 2012, the Silver prize at the 5th Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) Outstanding Student Research Award in 2011 and the University Gold medal from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He has authored and co-authored over 30 journal and refereed conference papers, one book chapter, and holds one US patent.