How-To: Homemade Memristor

Science Technology
How-To:  Homemade Memristor
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Fascinating video from Nyle Steiner, who reports on his experiments with simple homemade memristors made from what are, probably, Al-CuxSy-Cu and Al-PbS-Pb junctions. He describes the observations that led him to experiment with these systems and the results of his experiments, and then wraps up by drawing out a simple memristor demonstration circuit and showing its operation on-camera. [Thanks, Laine Walker-Avina!]

The memristor

16 thoughts on “How-To: Homemade Memristor

  1. S P says:

    Impressive result, with an extremely simple setup.
    I would like to do some experimentation about this, will let you know how it goes :)
    Tomorrow i’m going to buy some sulfur.

  2. besenyeim says:

    Made one, worked for me. Found hard handling that thin black layer, too easy to sweep it off. I’ll work a bit more on it. Really interesting.

  3. Andre says:

    Same problem here. I think the fix is to use PCB stock (basically pure copper), plate a tin layer on there then paint nail varnish over the part you don’t want oxide on.
    Then put sulphur on that, and install in oven at 50C for an hour.

    To form top contact, a good idea is Ga-Al alloy (used for homemade OLEDs) or possibly silver.
    Whatever you use has to be fairly mild and not etch through the sulphur layer,
    once painted on, connect whisker and test then overpaint with Epoxy or varnish.

  4. Miles Bennet says:

    Hey there! Interesting! Very much! How long does the “ON” state last?
    Did you test it?

  5. Karissa says:

    I’m having difficulty determining if the memristor we created works or not. The readings that we get are so unstable. Do you guys have any suggestions on testing to see if it works or not?

  6. Keith Atkin says:

    I found that a quick way to fabricate a homemade memristor is to lightly dust a strip of copper with sulphur and then place this for a few seconds on a hotplate. A black film of copper sulphide is obtained which, when touched with an aluminium wire, makes quite a reliable memristor. I should like to thank Nyle Steiner for starting me off on making memristors, particlarly as I have incorporated some of his ideas into an academic physics education paper which fully acknowledges his work. Is it possible to email Nyle, as I would like to send him a copy of my paper.

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      Keith, we don’t have an e-mail contact for Mr. Steiner, unfortunately, but I would love any information you can send about your paper and/or your method. I’ve been dreaming of printing a homemade memristor project in MAKE ever since this post went up. Please e-mail me at, if you are inclined. Thanks!

  7. Keith Atkin says:

    Sean, sorry for the long delay re the memristor. I have recently revisited the idea and am trying another approach. Will send you my paper when I get back to my PC tomorrow.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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