From Event: SPIE Organic Photonics + Electronics, 2015
Characterizing filamentary switching in resistive memories
For many organic, inorganic and hybrid memory devices the resistive switching mechanism is well known to rely on filament formation . This implies that localized conductive paths are established between the two terminal electrodes during the forming step. This filaments sustain the current flow when the memory is in the low conductive state and they can be ruptured and possibly re-formed for more than hundreds of I-V cycles.
The nature and morphology of filaments has been long time debated especially for organic memories. The filament size, density and formation mechanism have been very challenging to be characterized, and need appropriate experimental techniques. However, filaments in organic memories have been recently identified and characterized by cross-section transmission electron microscopy (TEM), conductive-AFM, AFM-tomography and through depth profile analysis combining Time-of-flight secondary ions mass spectrometry (SIMS) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).
In particular, 3D spectroscopic images obtained with ToF-SIMS give access for the first time to filament formation process and rupture mechanism. From these results, a clear picture of the filament(s) dynamics during memory operation can be drawn.
In this contribution, recent results showing filaments in memories based on different structures and architectures will be discussed. The memories are based on insulating polymers (polystyrene  and poly methyl methacrylate ), conductive polymers/nanocomposites (polyera N1400 with metal NPs ), and small semiconducting molecules (Tris(8-hydroxyquinolinato)aluminium - Alq3 ). The results show that resistive switching clearly involves the inhomogeneous metal diffusion in the organic layer taking place during the top electrode deposition and during memory operation. This may be of great relevance in many other organic electronics applications.
 S. Nau, S. Sax, E.J.W. List-Kratochvil, Adv. Mater. 2014, 26, 2508–2513.
 Y. Busby, N. Crespo-Monteiro, M. Girleanu, M. Brinkmann, O. Ersen, J.-J. Pireaux, Organic Electronics 2015, 16, 40–45.
 C. Wolf, S. Nau, S. Sax, Y. Busby, J.-J. Pireaux, E.J.W. List-Kratochvil (under submission).
 G. Casula, P. Cosseddu, Y. Busby, J.-J. Pireaux, M. Rosowski, B. Tkacz Szczesna, K. Soliwoda, G. Celichowski, J. Grobelny, J. Novák, R. Banerjee, F. Schreiber, A. Bonfiglio, Organic Electronics, 2015, 18, 17-23.
 Y. Busby, S. Nau, S. Sax, E.J.W. List- Kratochvil, J. Novak, R. Banerjee, F. Schreiber, J.-J. Pireaux, (under submission)
Yan Busby and Jean-Jacques Pireaux, "Characterizing filamentary switching in resistive memories (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9569, Printed Memory and Circuits, 956905 (Presented at SPIE Organic Photonics + Electronics: August 13, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2187472.4519372079001.
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