Understanding modes of negative differential resistance in amorphous and polycrystalline vanadium oxides

AIP Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Applied Physics, 2020, 128, (24)
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© 2020 Author(s). Metal-oxide-metal devices based on amorphous VOx are shown to exhibit one of two distinct negative differential resistance (NDR) characteristics depending on the maximum current employed for electroforming. For low compliance currents they exhibit a smooth S-type characteristic and have a temperature-dependent device resistance characterized by an activation energy of 0.25 eV, consistent with conduction in polycrystalline VO2, while for high compliance currents they exhibit an abrupt snap-back characteristic and a resistance characterized by an activation energy of 0.025 eV, consistent with conduction in oxygen deficient VOx. In both cases, the temperature dependence of the switching voltage implies that the conductivity change is due to the insulator-metal transition in VO2. From this analysis, it is concluded that electroforming at low currents creates a conductive filament comprised largely of polycrystalline VO2, while electroforming at high currents creates a composite structure comprised of VO2 and a conductive halo of oxygen deficient VOx. The effect of electroforming on the NDR mode is then explained with reference to a lumped element model of filamentary conduction that includes the effect of a parallel resistance created by the halo. These results provide new insight into the NDR response of vanadium-oxide-based devices and a basis for designing devices with specific characteristics.
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