Generic relevance of counter charges for cation-based nanoscale resistive switching memories

Stefan Tappertzhofen, Ilia Valov*, Tohru Tsuruoka, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Rainer Waser, Masakazu Aono

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Citations (Scopus)


Resistive switching memories (ReRAMs) are the major candidates for replacing the state-of-the-art memory technology in future nanoelectronics. These nonvolatile memory cells are based on nanoionic redox processes and offer prospects for high scalability, ultrafast write and read access, and low power consumption. The interfacial electrochemical reactions of oxidation and reduction of ions necessarily needed for resistive switching result inevitably in nonequilibrium states, which play a fundamental role in the processes involved during device operation. We report on nonequilibrium states in SiO 2-based ReRAMs being induced during the resistance transition. It is demonstrated that the formation of metallic cations proceeds in parallel to reduction of moisture, supplied by the ambient. The latter results in the formation of an electromotive force in the range of up to 600 mV. The outcome of the study highlights the hitherto overlooked necessity of a counter charge/reaction to keep the charge electroneutrality in cation-transporting thin films, making it hard to analyze and compare experimental results under different ambient conditions such as water partial pressure. Together with the dependence of the electromotive force on the ambient, these results contribute to the microscopic understanding of the resistive switching phenomena in cation-based ReRAMs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6396-6402
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul 23
Externally publishedYes


  • ReRAM
  • counter charge
  • electrochemical metalization cell
  • electromotive force
  • redox reactions
  • silicon dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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