Open Access Nano Express

Forming-free bipolar resistive switching in nonstoichiometric ceria films

Muhammad Ismail13, Chun-Yang Huang1, Debashis Panda1, Chung-Jung Hung2, Tsung-Ling Tsai1, Jheng-Hong Jieng1, Chun-An Lin1, Umesh Chand1, Anwar Manzoor Rana3, Ejaz Ahmed3, Ijaz Talib3, Muhammad Younus Nadeem3 and Tseung-Yuen Tseng1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Electronics Engineering and Institute of Electronics, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 30010, Taiwan

2 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 30010, Taiwan

3 Department of Physics, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan 60800, Pakistan

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:45  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-45

Published: 27 January 2014


The mechanism of forming-free bipolar resistive switching in a Zr/CeOx/Pt device was investigated. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy and energy-dispersive spectroscopy analysis indicated the formation of a ZrOy layer at the Zr/CeOx interface. X-ray diffraction studies of CeOx films revealed that they consist of nano-polycrystals embedded in a disordered lattice. The observed resistive switching was suggested to be linked with the formation and rupture of conductive filaments constituted by oxygen vacancies in the CeOx film and in the nonstoichiometric ZrOy interfacial layer. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy study confirmed the presence of oxygen vacancies in both of the said regions. In the low-resistance ON state, the electrical conduction was found to be of ohmic nature, while the high-resistance OFF state was governed by trap-controlled space charge-limited mechanism. The stable resistive switching behavior and long retention times with an acceptable resistance ratio enable the device for its application in future nonvolatile resistive random access memory (RRAM).

Resistive switching; Space charge-limited conduction (SCLC); Metal-insulator-metal structure; Cerium oxide; Oxygen vacancy