Graphene Nanoribbon-based Synapses with Versatile Plasticity

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Designing and implementing artificial systems that can be interfaced with the human brain or that can provide computational ability akin to brain's processing information efficient style is crucial for understanding human brain fundamental operating principles and to unleashing the full potential of brain-inspired computing. As basic neural network components, responsible for information transfer between neurons, artificial synapses able to emulate analog biological synaptic behaviour are of particular interest. State of the art CMOS and memristor-based synapses suffer from scalability drawbacks (large energy consumption and area footprint), variability-induced instability, and are not bio-compatible. In this paper, we propose a generic Graphene Nanoribbon (GNR) based synapse structure and demonstrate that by changing GNR geometry and external bias voltages it can emulate different synaptic plasticity behaviours, i.e., Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity and LongTerm Depression and Potentiation, and that both excitatory and inhibitory synaptic behavior can be obtained with the same GNR geometry. To demonstrate biologically plausible operation, we make use of low voltage bias, i.e., 0.1V, 0.2 V, and consider inputs consistent with measured brain synapses data, i.e.,-50 mV to 50 mV pre-and post-synaptic spikes voltage range, and-60ms to 60 ms time range. The simulations indicate that by changing the GNR shape we can enrich the plasticity behaviour (potentially beyond the considered cases) and the plasticity change of 100% provided by natural synapses can be achieved. Our investigation clearly suggests that the proposed GNR synapse structure is a promising candidate for large-scale neuromorphic systems integration, which might potentially bring novel insight on brain neurophysiology, as it requires a small footprint, is energy effective, biocompatible, and versatile from the synaptic behaviour point of view.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Nanoscale Architectures (NANOARCH)
Place of PublicationDanvers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-5520-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-5521-0
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020
Event2019 IEEE International Symposium on Nanoscale Architectures (NANOARCH)
Duration: 17 Jul 201919 Jul 2019


Conference2019 IEEE International Symposium on Nanoscale Architectures (NANOARCH)

Bibliographical note

Accepted author manuscript


  • Artificial Synapse
  • GNR
  • Graphene
  • Neuromorphic Computing
  • STDP


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