Thermophoresis/diffusion as a plausible mechanism for unipolar resistive switching in metal–oxide–metal memristors
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- Strukov, D.B., Alibart, F. & Stanley Williams, R. Appl. Phys. A (2012) 107: 509. doi:10.1007/s00339-012-6902-x
We show that the SET operation of a unipolar memristor could be explained by thermophoresis, or the Soret effect, which is the diffusion of atoms, ions or vacancies in a steep temperature gradient. This mechanism explains the observed resistance switching via conducting channel formation and dissolution reported for TiO2 and other metal-oxide-based unipolar resistance switches. Depending on the temperature profile in a device, dilute vacancies can preferentially diffuse radially inward toward higher temperatures caused by the Joule heating of an electronic current to essentially condense and form a conducting channel. The RESET operation occurs via radial diffusion of vacancies away from the channel when the temperature is elevated but the gradient is small.