Hydrogen induced redox mechanism in amorphous carbon resistive random access memory
© Chen et al.; licensee Springer. 2014
Received: 27 November 2013
Accepted: 6 January 2014
Published: 29 January 2014
We investigated the bipolar resistive switching characteristics of the resistive random access memory (RRAM) device with amorphous carbon layer. Applying a forming voltage, the amorphous carbon layer was carbonized to form a conjugation double bond conductive filament. We proposed a hydrogen redox model to clarify the resistive switch mechanism of high/low resistance states (HRS/LRS) in carbon RRAM. The electrical conduction mechanism of LRS is attributed to conductive sp2 carbon filament with conjugation double bonds by dehydrogenation, while the electrical conduction of HRS resulted from the formation of insulating sp3-type carbon filament through hydrogenation process.
Recently, portable electronic products which are combined memory circuits [1–3], display design [4, 5] and IC circuits have popularized considerably in the last few years. To surmount the technical and physical limitation issues of conventional charge-storage-based memories [6–11], the resistance random access memory (RRAM) is constructed of an insulating layer sandwiched by two electrodes. This structure is a great potential candidate for next-generation nonvolatile memory due to its superior characteristics such as lesser cost, simple structure, high-speed operation, and nondestructive readout [12–21].
The carbon-based resistive memory (C-RRAM) has emerged as one of a few candidates with high density and low power. The resistive switching of C-RRAM relies on the formation and rupture of filaments due to redox chemical reaction mechanism, which is similar to most other reported RRAM devices [22–43].
In this paper, we investigated the resistive switching characteristics of amorphous carbon films prepared by RF magnetron sputter deposition technique for nonvolatile memory applications. Reliable and reproducible switching phenomena of the amorphous carbon RRAM with Pt/a-C:H/TiN structure were observed. In addition, the resistive switching mechanism of the amorphous carbon RRAM device is discussed and verified by electrical and material analysis.
The experimental specimens were prepared as follows. The carbon thin film (around 23 nm) was deposited on the TiN/Ti/SiO2/Si substrate by RF magnetron sputtering with a carbon target. After that, the Pt top electrode of 200-nm thickness was deposited on the specimen by DC magnetron sputtering. The photolithography and lift-off technique were used to shape the cells into square pattern with area of 0.36 to 16 μm2. The electrical measurements of devices were performed using Agilent B1500 semiconductor parameter analyzer (Santa Clara, CA, USA). Besides, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy were used to analyze the chemical composition and bonding of the amorphous carbon materials, respectively.
Results and discussion
In order to further testify the existence of the carbon layer and find its chemical bonding type, FTIR was used to analyze the sputtered carbon thin film. C-H stretch peak can be observed at the wave number of 2,800 to 3,000 cm-1, as shown in the FTIR spectra of Figure 3b.
In conclusion, the amorphous carbon RRAM has been fabricated to investigate the resistive switching characteristics. The device has good resistive switching properties due to hydrogenation and dehydrogenation of H atoms in carbon RRAM. The material and electrical analyses give convincing evidence of hydrogen redox induced resistance switching in amorphous carbon RRAM. The current conduction of LRS was contributed to formation of conjugation double bonds in the carbon layer after dehydrogenation. Moreover, the current conduction of HRS was dominated by insulating sp3 carbon after hydrogenation at a reverse electrical filed.
This work was performed at National Science Council Core Facilities Laboratory for Nano-Science and Nano-Technology in Kaohsiung-Pingtung area and supported by the National Science Council of the Republic of China under contract nos. NSC 102-2120-M-110-001 and NSC 101-2221-E-044-MY3.
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