In this issue we delve in to the fascinating world of memory. Memory can be defined as simply the capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, and impressions. But memory as we all know can be defined in many ways depending on the system under discussion. What I think cannot be disputed is the fact that memory across many platforms is improving, so as the ability to store increasing amounts of ever more complex data increases and the size of the actual memory device decreases we are witnessing some amazing developments across many disciplines which touch on our everyday life.

In our lead article Di Ventra and Pershin look at some of the interesting research that has come out of the study of two terminal electronic devises, subject to time-dependent perturbations. There response is to behave as non-linear circuit elements with memory, opening up a wealth of applications from information storage to biologically-inspired circuits.

Asadi et al. delve deeper in to organic non-volatile memory devices based on ferroelectricity which are a group of devices witnessing considerable interest because of their potential in the development of low-cost memory technology based on a simple cross-bar array. The authors review the latest developments in the field focusing on bistable rectifying diodes which are proving to be one of the more promising devises in this field.

We are hearing more and more about phase change memories (PCM); they are reaching the marketplace providing new options to tackle the cost, bandwidth and power efficiency trade-offs in memory systems. Daniele Ielmini and Andrea L. Lacaita give a succinct review of the key physical properties which make phase change materials so special and the future perspectives of these devices at the nanoscale.

Our final paper “Developments in nanocrystal memory” by Chang et al., looks at the rise in discrete nanocrystal memory as a replacement to traditional flash memory devices. Discrete nanocrystal memory has been proposed as a promising candidate for the next generation of nonvolatile memory due to its high operation speed, good scalability, and superior reliability.

I'd like to take a few words to thank all of you who stopped by our booth at the Fall MRS meeting in Boston, it was great to see you all there and hear about some of your latest research. Next year will be a busy year with the launch of our new iPad version in the first few months of 2012 and a date for your diary, March 14th for our next virtual conference on microscopy. Visit to register for free.

Happy holidays and good health for the New Year from the entire Materials Today team.

Read full text on ScienceDirect

DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70286-3