12 July 2012 - Engineers in Taiwan say they've invented a tiny low-power circuit based on memristors that could improve the security of data transmission over the Internet and of using Near Field Communication (NFC) from smartphone wallets. The security of many digital transactions depends on generating truly random numbers, something that's difficult to do using today's digital circuits, which typically produce numbers that aren't completely random. The new memristor circuit rapidly spits out true random numbers while consuming less energy compared with other techniques, according to research in an upcoming issue of IEEE Electron Device Letters.
Memristors and resistive random-access memories (RRAMs) store information as resistance rather than charge, as other memories do. They are made by sandwiching a resistive material or a stack of materials between two electrodes. The device's resistance can be reversibly increased or decreased by applying a certain level of voltage across the device.