Applications for these simple and potentially inexpensive memories include electronic identification. Such devices must be able to change one of their measurable electrical characteristics in a controlled and reproducible way following an intentional external input, ideally maintaining this change ad eternum.

Poly(vinyl alcohol) is a relatively inexpensive and commonly used material and the amount of carbon nanotubes embedded in the device composite film is very low. The best performance is obtained when the composite contains less than 0.5% carbon nanotubes.

We observed memory behaviour in nominally undoped, nitrogen-doped and boron-doped carbon nanotubes, suggesting that impurities in the carbon nanotubes do not play a crucial rule in the memory phenomenon. An added advantage comes from the fact that very little energy is required to switch the device from the OFF to the ON state.

More details of the work can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.