Resistive switching, the reversible modulation of electronic conductivity in thin films under electrical stress, has been observed in a wide range of material systems and is attributed to diverse physical mechanisms. Research activity in this area has been traditionally fueled by the search for a perfect electronic memory candidate but recently received additional attention due to a number of other promising applications, such as reconfigurable and neuromorphic computing. This issue of MRS Bulletin is devoted to current state-of-the-art understanding of the physics behind resistive switching in several major classes of material systems and their intrinsic scaling prospects in the context of electronic circuit applications. In particular, the goal of this introductory article is to review the most promising applications of thin-film devices and outline some of the major requirements for their performance.
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