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Patent of the Month: October 2020

Low Power Artificial Synaptic Element with Intrinsic Spiking Behavior Patent 10,505,095

Technology Description

NIST has created a new form of artificial synapse based on dynamically reconfigurable superconducting Josephson junctions with magnetic clusters in the barrier. The spiking energy per pulse varies with the magnetic configuration. The critical current of each magnetic Josephson junction, which is analogous to the synaptic weight, can be tuned using input voltage spikes that change the spin order of the magnetic clusters. Through numerical modelling, these devices can operate in the stochastic regime where the spiking energy is comparable to the thermal energy.

invention description, showing a magnetically disordered and magnetically ordered basic design concept for Low Power Artificial Synaptic Element with Intrinsic Spiking Behavior Patent 10,505,095
Credit: NIST


Michael Schneider

Stephen Russek

William Rippard

Matthew Pufall

Technology Types

Artificial Intelligence

Novel Computing


This technology is more energy efficient than any neuromorphic hardware in current practice, even when including the overhead of cooling to 4 K. This will allow for more energy efficient computing, and ultimately enable systems with higher levels of complexity because of the energy efficiency.

Licensing Inquiries may be sent to TPO [at] NIST.GOV

View other patents of the month here.

Created September 29, 2020, Updated August 23, 2023