Journal of Computational Electronics

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1175–1185 | Cite as

Design rules for threshold switches based on a field triggered thermal runaway mechanism

  • Carsten Funck
  • Susanne Hoffmann-Eifert
  • Sebastian Lukas
  • Rainer Waser
  • Stephan Menzel
S.I.: Computational Electronics of Emerging Memory Elements


We investigate a new type of threshold switching devices, which is based on a purely electronic phenomena. These threshold switches are polarity independent and switch abruptly from a high resistive state to a low resistive state at a threshold voltage. The device stays in this low resistive state as long as a high voltage drops over the device. When the voltage is reduced, the low resistive state is lost and the device switches back to the initial high resistive state. This makes these threshold switches highly interesting as selector elements for resistive switching memory concepts, based on device arrays, which are the prerequisite for new applications like logic-in-memory concepts. The threshold switching considered here is based on a combination of a Poole–Frenkel conduction mechanism and Joule heating. Hence, it is not strongly restricted to specific materials rather it is connected to the physical quantities of the Poole–Frenkel conduction mechanism and the thermal conductance. This enables to design the threshold switch to its application requirements by adjusting the relevant physical material properties or designing the device geometry. Here we present a theoretical study, which tackles the influence of several material properties and the device design. From this simulation model the impact on technical important figures of merits is determined, such as the threshold switching voltage and the selectivity.


Threshold switching RRAM Selector Thermal runaway 



The authors would like to thank Dirk Wouters, Alexander Hardtdegen and Anne Siemon for the fruitful discussions. This work has been supported in parts by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft under SFB 917.

Supplementary material

10825_2017_1061_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (118 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 118 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carsten Funck
    • 1
  • Susanne Hoffmann-Eifert
    • 2
  • Sebastian Lukas
    • 1
  • Rainer Waser
    • 1
  • Stephan Menzel
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Werkstoffe der Elektrotechnik IIRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Peter Grünberg Institut, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbHJülichGermany

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