Journal of Applied Physics vol:116 issue:13 pages:1345012-1-134502-10
In this article, we investigate extensively the bipolar-switching properties of Al2O3-and HfO2-based resistive-switching memory cells operated at low current down to < 1 mu A. We show that the switching characteristics differ considerably from those typically reported for larger current range (> 15 mu A), which we relate as intrinsic to soft-breakdown (SBD) regime. We evidence a larger impact of the used switching-oxide in this current range, due to lower density of oxygen-vacancy (V-o) defects in the SBD regime. In this respect, deep resetting and large memory window may be achieved using the stoichiometric Al2O3 material due to efficient V-o annihilation, although no complete erasure of the conductive-filament (CF) is obtained. We finally emphasize that the conduction may be described by a quantum point-contact (QPC) model down to very low current level where only a few Vo defects compose the QPC constriction. The large switching variability inherent to this latter aspect is mitigated by CF shape tuning through adequate engineering of an Al2O3\HfO2 bilayer.