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Memadmittance Systems

Memadmittance Systems

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Published by Blaise_Mouttet
Physics model for some forms of ReRAM
Physics model for some forms of ReRAM

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Published by: Blaise_Mouttet on Feb 23, 2012
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March 14, 2010
A Memadmittance Systems Model for Thin Film Memory Materials
Blaise MouttetGeorge Mason University, VA, USA, bmouttet@gmu.edu
ABSTRACT
In 1971 the memristor was originally postulated as anew non-linear circuit element relating the time integrals of current and voltage. More recently researchers at HPLabshave linked the theoretical memristor concept to resistanceswitching behavior of TiO
2-x
thin films. However, a varietyof other thin film materials exhibiting memory resistanceeffects have also been found to exhibit a memorycapacitance effect. This paper proposes a memadmittance(memory admittance) systems model which attempts toconsolidate the memory capacitance effects with thememristor model. The model produces equations relatingthe cross-sectional area of conductive bridges in resistiveswitching films to shifts in capacitance.
 Keywords
: Memristor, memcapacitor, thin films, RRAM
1
 
INTRODUCTION
In 1971, Prof. Leon Chua of UC Berkeley published apaper [1] arguing that the conventional view of passivecircuitry consisting of resistors, capacitors, and inductorswas incomplete. A new fundamental circuit element called
the “memristor” (memory resistor) was proposed as a
fourth fundamental circuit element based on a functionalrelationship between the time integral of voltage (
=∫v
(t)dt)and the time integral of current (q
=∫i(t)dt).
Mathematicallythis may be expressed as:
= M(q
where M(*) is a continuous, non-linear function.A subsequent paper [2] in 1976 by Chua and Sung-MoKang extended and formalized the theory to cover a broaderrange of systems characterized by a pinched, zero-crossinghysteresis curve which may mathematically be described bythe coupled non-linear systems equations:
v(t) = R(w,i,t)i(t)
2a

dw/dt = f(w,i,t)
2b

where v(t) is voltage as a function of time t, i(t) is current asa function of time t, w is a state variable, R(*) is a state-dependent resistance function, and f(*) is a functionrepresentative of the dynamic change of the resistance state.It is notable that one special cases of a memristance systemexists when R(w,i,t) = R(w) and dw/dt = 0 whichcorresponds to the case of a linear, time-invariant resistor.Another special case exists when R(w,i,t) = R(w) and dw/dt= i(t) which corresponds to the originally definedmemristor. Thus memristive systems unify resistors andmemristors under one comprehensive system.In 2008 researchers at HPLabs published a paper [3]connecting the theoretical work of Chua and Kang to realmaterial systems under the interpretation that the statevariable (w) corresponded to a measure of ionic distributionin TiO
2
thin films and the change of state (dw/dt) was ameasure of ionic drift. This model led to an expression of amemristive system in terms of the measured low resistance(R
ON
) and measured high resistance (R
OFF
) such that
v(t) = [R
ON
(w/D)+R
OFF
(1-w/D)] i(t)
3a

dw/dt =
v
R
ON
 /D i(t)
3b

where (D) was used to represent the film thickness and
v
 was used to represent the average ion mobility of the film.It is notable that (although not cited in the HPLab paper)the state-dependent resistance switching property of thinfilm TiO
2
was experimentally realized 40 years earlierincluding data curves later associated with memristivesystems [4].Further papers have attempted to extend the memristivemodel of TiO
2
by incorporating an electric-field dependentionic mobility in order to explain the non-linearity of theionic drift rate with respect to the applied voltage [5] aswell as providing an alternative model using the tunnelinggap as the state variable (w) [6]. One issue that has not beencarefully analyzed in these models is the capacitance of thesystem. Capacitance hysteresis effects are well recognizedas a consequence of ionic trapping and ionic drift in theoxides of MOS systems and have been observed in avariety of thin film materials [7-11]. While the theoretical
 proposal of a “memcapacitor” has been put forward in
analogy to the memristor [12] it has yet to be connected tomaterial parameters of thin films in any specific detail.Section 2 develops an extended version of memristivesystems equations applicable to thin films and includingcapacitance effects. Section 3 describes a potentialapplication of the model to the analytical determination of 
 
March 14, 2010the length change and area of conductive bridges createdduring resistance switching.
2
 
MEMADMITTANCE SYSTEMS MODEL
Memristance effects have been attributed to an oxidelayer having an ionic content and a nanoscale thickness by[3]. For a sufficiently thin ionic film a functionalrelationship would then exist between charge (q) and flux-linkage (
). However, in the same material system having alarger oxide thickness it would be expected that a capacitivefunctional relationship exists between charge (q) andvoltage (v). Thus it would be reasonable to expect bothmemristive and capacitive effects to co-exist in metal-insulator-metal thin films having thicknesses between theextreme of purely memristive at the nanometer thicknessscale and purely capacitive at the micrometer thicknessscale. To incorporate both effects (at least at a theoreticallevel) a functional relationship should exist such that thecharge (q) of the system can be defined in terms of both theflux linkage (
) (as in a memristor) and the voltage (v) (asin a capacitor).q = q(
,v)
The current (i) of the system may be found bydifferentiating (5) with respect to time producing anequation analogous to that found for a parallel resistor andcapacitor combination,
i(t) = G(
,v)v(t)+C(
,v)dv(t)/dt
5

where G(
,v) and C(
,v) are conductance and capacitancefunctions defined by
G(
,v
) =
q(
,v)
/∂
C(
,v
) =
q(
,v)
/∂
v.
It is notable that if the charge is a continuous function of the flux-linkage and voltage, the functional relationship of (6) and (7) imply a mathematical coupling between theconductance and capacitance functions such that:
∂C(
,
v)/∂
 
= ∂G(
,
v)/∂
v
In cases where the conductance and capacitance functionsare both determined by a common state variable related tothe ionic distribution in a thin film (5) may be rewritten interms of non-linear state equations
i(t) = G(w)v(t)+C(w)dv(t)/dt
9

dw/dt = f(w,v)
10

in which f(*) is a function defining the voltage-dependentionic drift.Based on the analysis of a dual layer TiO
2-x
 /TiO
2
systemdiscussed in [3] an insulator layer of thickness (D) isseparated into a high conductive region of thickness (w)representing the TiO
2-x
material and a low conductiveregion of thickness (D-w) representing the dielectric TiO
2
 material. In accordance with this analysis the conductancefunction G(w) may be expressed as the reciprocal of (3a).
G(w) = [R
ON
(w/D)+R
OFF
(1-w/D)]
-1
11

For a uniform area distribution of TiO
2-x
in which thedielectric region thickness (D-w) is large enough to avoidbreakdown a parallel plate capacitance model may be usedto approximate a state-dependent capacitance as:
C(w) =
A/(D-w)
12

where (
) is the permittivity of the dielectric TiO
2
, (A) isthe cross-sectional area of the metal-insulator-metal junction, and (D-w) is the thickness of the TiO
2
dielectricregion.A simple first-level model for the ionic drift (dw/dt)may be expressed as a linear function of the electric fieldwithin the junction. Two components contributing to theelectric field in the dielectric region are the external electricfield (E
ext
) which is a function of the applied voltage (V
a
)and the internal electric field (E
int
) determined by the ionicdistribution within the junction
dw/dt =
v
(E
ext
(V
a
)-E
int
(w))
13

where
v
is the ionic mobility. The application of theexternal field will push the ions toward one of theelectrodes resulting in a build-up of ions which willgenerate an internal field in the opposite direction. It isnotable that in various materials exhibiting memristiveeffects this can result in either an electrochemical reactionwith the electrode material leading to the growth of ametallic filament from the electrode or an accumulation of defect sites forming a conductive bridge [13]. If the surfacegeometry of the electrodes exhibit any non-uniformity it islikely that the ion accumulation will be attracted to thisnon-uniformity and serve as a basis for the initial growth of the conductive bridge. Fig. 1 provides an illustration of such ionic accumulation leading to filament formation.The external field (E
ext
) in the dielectric region may becalculated from
E
ext
=-(V
a
-V
T
)/(D-w)
14

where V
a
is the applied voltage, V
T
denotes any thresholdvoltage which may exist due to the relative work functionsof the metal used for the electrodes and the oxide, and (D-w) is the film thickness of the dielectric region. While (14)uses a singular value for the state variable (w) it is notablethat in the more general case of an area-dependentboundary between the conductive and dielectric regions
 
March 14, 2010such as in Fig.1 the state variable would be expressed as astate function which varies across the cross-sectional area.The internal field (E
int
) may be calculated based on Gauss’s
Law relating the electric displacement (
E
int
) and an ionicdensity function of the junction (N
v
)
(
E
int
)= -qN
v
(w)
15

where
is the permittivity of the dielectric film and q is theelectronic charge. It is noted that this is only a first-levellinear model of the ionic drift equation. More advancedmodels should incorporate thermal diffusion effects inaddition to non-linear effects occurring at high fields asexplained in [5].
 3
 
RELATION TO MATERIALPARAMETERS
For materials which exhibit both capacitance andresistance switching based on the formation of a conductivebridge the dimensions of the bridge may be estimated usingthe measurements of shifts in the resistance and capacitance.Fig. 2 illustrates a two state system having a junctionswitched between a capacitive state, in which the thicknessof the dielectric gap is relatively large, and a resistancestate, in which the gap is relatively small. In the OFF stateof Fig.2a the junction resistance R
OFF
scales with theinverse of the tunneling current as
R
OFF
= R
0
 /[exp(-2
(8m
e

h
(D-w
OFF
))]
16

where (R
0
) is a proportionality constant, (m
e
) is the electroneffective mass,

is the tunneling potential barrier, (h) is
Planck’
s constant, (w
OFF
) is the length of the conductivebridge in the OFF state, and (D-w
OFF
) is the tunneling gapin the OFF state. The total capacitance in the OFF state canbe calculated based on the sum of the capacitance formedbetween the upper and lower electrode and the capacitanceformed between the filament and the upper electrode.
C
OFF
=
(A-A
cb
)/D +
A
cb
 /(D-w
OFF
)
17

Figure 2: (a) High resistance state of junction in which (D-w) is sufficiently large so that there is minimum tunnelingand the junction is primarily capacitive (b) Low resistancestate of conductive bridge in which (D-w) is small enoughto provide significant electron tunneling and the junction isprimarily resistive.Lower Electrode(b)Upper ElectrodeDwLower Electrode(a)Upper ElectrodewDLower ElectrodeFigure 1: (a) Uniform distribution of oxygen vacanciesor ions in thin film (b) External electric field (E
ext
)initiates drift toward one electrode (c) A localizedinternal electric field is generated by attraction of ionsto a non-uniform region of the electrode. The build-upof ionic density extends the internal field andpromotes the creation of a conducting bridge.(b)Upper ElectrodeLower Electrode(a)Upper ElectrodeE
ext
 Lower Electrode(c)Upper ElectrodeE
ext
 E
int
 

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