Each passing day the artificial intelligence (AI) is getting involved in our daily life. Scientists have done wonders using AI and are continuing to do so. Now, scientists have created an artificial Neuron that actually retains electronic memories. According to a new study published in the journal Science, a team of researchers has built a prototype of an artificial neuron made of unbelievably thin graphene slits housing a single layer of water molecules.
Scientists Created an Artificial Neuron That Actually Retains Electronic Memories
The brain’s ultra-high efficiency is dependent on a neuron with nanometric pores called ion channels. These channels alternatively close and open depending on the stimuli, but the ion flows resulting from this process generate an electric current, one that emits action potentials, which are the crucial signals that let neurons communicate with one another. Artificial intelligence (AI) can do it, too. But it takes a lot more energy which indeed is a new challenge for researchers to design and build electronic systems that emulate the energy efficiency of the human brain.
At a finer level, the researchers created a system that simulates the process of generating action potentials which are to create spikes in electrical activity generated by neurons that are the basis of brain activity. To generate an action potential, a neuron starts to let in more positive ions, which are attracted to the negative ions inside of the cell. The electrical potential, or voltage across the cell membrane, causes doorways on the cell called voltage-gated ion channels to open, raising the charge even more before the cell reaches a peak and returns to normal a few milliseconds later. The signal is then transmitted to other cells, enabling information to travel in the brain.
To mimic voltage-gated ion channels, the researchers modelled a thin layer of water between sheets of graphene, which are extremely thin sheets of carbon. The water layers in the simulations were one, two, or three molecules in-depth, which the researchers characterized as a quasi-two-dimension slit. The researchers wanted to use this two-dimensional environment because particles tend to react much more strongly in two dimensions than in three, and they exhibit different properties in two dimensions, which the researchers thought might be useful for their experiment.
Just like a human brain, the artificial neuron uses ions instead of electrons
When the researchers tested out the model in a computer simulation, they found that when they applied an electric field to the channel, the ions in the water formed worm-like structures. As the team applied a greater electric field in the simulation, these structures would break up slowly enough to leave behind a “memory,” or a hint of the elongated configuration.
No doubt, such types of theories and experiments take a long time to get fully utilized in the real world. We are also sure that this research could also help scientists better understand how the brain processes information and develop new theories of brain-like computing.