Applied Physics A

, Volume 111, Issue 4, pp 1065–1070

Top electrode material related bipolar memory and unipolar threshold resistance switching in amorphous Ta2O5 films


DOI: 10.1007/s00339-012-7493-2

Cite this article as:
Cai, Y., Sheng, C. & Liang, C. Appl. Phys. A (2013) 111: 1065. doi:10.1007/s00339-012-7493-2


Tantalum oxide (Ta2O5) is one of the most studied materials for its stable resistance switching and potential application in nonvolatile memory devices. Top electrode and essential switching material are two critical points dominating its switching characteristics. Here, Ta2O5 films of amorphous nature (a-Ta2O5) with tunable thicknesses were made by changing the applied voltage during anodic oxidation of Ta-metal foils. The resistance-switching behavior of an a-Ta2O5 film in a metal/a-Ta2O5/Ta configuration was investigated by using a sputtered W or Ag metal film as the top electrode. The unipolar threshold switching phenomenon was observed using W as top electrode (WTE), while bipolar switching behaviors were achieved using active Ag metal as top electrode (AgTE). The thickness of the a-Ta2O5 film shows an obvious effect on the SET voltage in a WTE/a-Ta2O5/Ta device. The interfacial redox reaction induced formation of more conductive Ta-rich suboxide and the Joule heating effect are proposed to contribute to the unipolar threshold switching behavior. It is also suggested that the bipolar switching could have resulted from the electrochemical reaction-induced dissolution and growth of Ag conducting channels inside the Ta2O5 films.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Materials Physics and Anhui Key Laboratory of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology, Institute of Solid State Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesHefeiChina