Forming and switching mechanisms of a cation-migration-based oxide resistive memory

T. Tsuruoka*, K. Terabe, T. Hasegawa, M. Aono

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Citations (Scopus)


We report detailed current-voltage and current-time measurements to reveal the forming and switching behaviors of Cu/Ta2O5/Pt nonvolatile resistive memory devices. The devices can be initially SET (from the OFF state to the ON state) when a low positive bias voltage is applied to the Cu electrode. This first SET operation corresponds to the first formation of a metal filament by inhomogeneous nucleation and subsequent growth of Cu on the Pt electrode, based on the migration of Cu ions in the stable Ta2O 5 matrix. After the forming, the device exhibits bipolar switching behavior (SET at positive bias and RESET (from the ON state to the OFF state) at negative bias) with increasing the ON resistance from a few hundred ω to a few kω. From the measurements of the temperature stability of the ON states, we concluded that the RESET process consists of the Joule-heating- assisted oxidation of Cu atoms at the thinnest part of the metal filament followed by diffusion and drift of the Cu ions under their own concentration gradient and the applied electric field, disconnecting the metal filament. With ON resistances of the order of a few kω, the SET and RESET operations are repeated by the inhomogeneous nucleation and the Joule-heating-assisted dissolution of a small filament on a remaining filament. This switching model is applicable to the operation of cation-migration-based resistive memories using other oxide materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number425205
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Oct 22
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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