Distinguishing Oxygen Vacancy Electromigration and Conductive Filament Formation in TiO2 Resistance Switching Using Liquid Electrolyte Contacts

Kechao Tang, Andrew C. Meng, Fei Hui, Yuanyuan Shi, Trevor Petach, Charles Hitzman, Ai Leen Koh, David Goldhaber-Gordon, Mario Lanza, Paul C. McIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Resistance switching in TiO2 and many other transition metal oxide resistive random access memory materials is believed to involve the assembly and breaking of interacting oxygen vacancy filaments via the combined effects of field-driven ion migration and local electronic conduction leading to Joule heating. These complex processes are very difficult to study directly in part because the filaments form between metallic electrode layers that block their observation by most characterization techniques. By replacing the top electrode layer in a metal-insulator-metal memory structure with easily removable liquid electrolytes, either an ionic liquid (IL) with high resistance contact or a conductive aqueous electrolyte, we probe field-driven oxygen vacancy redistribution in TiO2 thin films under conditions that either suppress or promote Joule heating. Oxygen isotope exchange experiments indicate that exchange of oxygen ions between TiO2 and the IL is facile at room temperature. Oxygen loss significantly increases the conductivity of the TiO2 films; however, filament formation is not observed after IL gating alone. Replacing the IL with a more conductive aqueous electrolyte contact and biasing does produce electroformed conductive filaments, consistent with a requirement for Joule heating to enhance the vacancy concentration and mobility at specific locations in the film.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4390-4399
Number of pages10
JournalNano Letters
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 12 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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