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Open AccessArticle

Direct Observation of Structural Deformation Immunity for Understanding Oxygen Plasma Treatment-Enhanced Resistive Switching in HfOx-Based Memristive Devices

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School of Mechanical Engineering, Xiangtan University, Xiangtan 411105, China
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Key Laboratory of Welding Robot and Application Technology of Hunan Province, School of Mechanical Engineering, Xiangtan University, Xiangtan 411105, China
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Key Laboratory of Microelectronics Devices and Integration Technology, Institute of Microelectronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
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School of Materials Science and Engineering, Xiangtan University, Xiangtan 411105, China
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(10), 1355; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9101355
Received: 23 August 2019 / Revised: 17 September 2019 / Accepted: 18 September 2019 / Published: 21 September 2019
Oxygen ions’ migration is the fundamental resistive switching (RS) mechanism of the binary metal oxides-based memristive devices, and recent studies have found that the RS performance can be enhanced through appropriate oxygen plasma treatment (OPT). However, the lack of experimental evidence observed directly from the microscopic level of materials and applicable understanding of how OPT improves the RS properties will cause significant difficulties in its further application. In this work, we apply scanning probe microscope (SPM)-based techniques to study the OPT-enhanced RS performance in prototypical HfOx based memristive devices through in situ morphology and electrical measurements. It is first found that the structural deformations in HfOx nanofilm induced by migration of oxygen ions and interfacial electrochemical reactions can be recovered by OPT effectively. More importantly, such structural deformations no longer occur after OPT due to the strengthening in lattice structure, which directly illustrates the enhanced quantity of HfOx nanofilm and the nature of enhanced RS properties after OPT. Finally, the underlying mechanisms of OPT-enhanced RS performance are analyzed by the results of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic (XPS) surface analysis. In the OPT-enhanced HfOx nanofilm, oxygen vacancies in crystalline regions can be remarkably reduced by active oxygen ions’ implantation. The oxygen ions transport will depend considerably on the grain boundaries and OPT-enhanced lattice structure will further guarantee the stability of conductive filaments, both of which ensure the uniformity and repeatability in RS processes. This study could provide a scientific basis for improving RS performance of oxides-based memristive devices by utilizing OPT. View Full-Text
Keywords: resistive switching; HfOx; oxygen plasma treatment; oxygen ions migration; oxygen vacancy resistive switching; HfOx; oxygen plasma treatment; oxygen ions migration; oxygen vacancy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, D.; Yan, S.; Chen, Q.; He, Q.; Xiao, Y.; Tang, M.; Zheng, X. Direct Observation of Structural Deformation Immunity for Understanding Oxygen Plasma Treatment-Enhanced Resistive Switching in HfOx-Based Memristive Devices. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 1355.

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