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Zirconia quantum dots for a nonvolatile resistive random access memory device


We propose a nonvolatile resistive random access memory device by employing nanodispersion of zirconia (ZrO2) quantum dots (QDs) for the formation of an active layer. The memory devices comprising a typical sandwich structure of Ag (top)/ZrO2 (active layer)/Ti (bottom) are fabricated using a facile spin-coating method. The optimized device exhibits a high resistance state/low resistance state resistance difference (about 10 Ω), a good cycle performance (the number of cycles larger than 100), and a relatively low conversion current (about 1 µA). Atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscope are used to observe the surface morphology and stacking state of the ZrO2 active layer. Experimental results show that the ZrO2 active layer is stacked compactly and has a low roughness (Ra=4.49 nm) due to the uniform distribution of the ZrO2 QDs. The conductive mechanism of the Ag/ZrO2/Ti device is analyzed and studied, and the conductive filaments of Ag ions and oxygen vacancies are focused on to clarify the resistive switching memory behavior. This study offers a facile approach of memristors for future electronic applications.

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Author information

Correspondence to Feng Yang or Dan Wang.

Additional information

Compliance with ethics guidelines

Xiang-lei HE, Rui-jie TANG, Feng YANG, Mayameen S. KADHIM, Jie-xin WANG, Yuan PU, and Dan WANG declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21808009) and the Beijing Natural Science Foundation, China (No. 2182051)

Xiang-lei HE received his BS degree in 2016 from Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT), in Beijing, China. He is currently a PhD candidate at the State Key Laboratory of Organic-Inorganic Composites of BUCT. His current research focuses on high-gravity-assisted scalable synthesis of functional nanomaterials for high-performance optical devices.

Feng YANG is an associate professor of the Superconductivity and New Energy R&D Center at Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China. He received his PhD degree in materials science and engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 2008. His research interest includes photoelectric nanomaterials, photocatalytic nanomaterials, two-dimensional materials, solar cells, and memristors.

Dan WANG is a professor at the State Key Laboratory of Organic-Inorganic Composites of BUCT in Beijing, China. He received his BS degree in materials science and engineering in 2008 and his PhD degree in optical engineering in 2013, both from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. He was a visiting scholar at Hannam University in the Republic of Korea in 2008–2009, Case Western Reserve University in 2013–2015, and Harvard University in the United States in 2019. His research interest focuses on process intensification in chemical engineering and optical nanomaterials. Dr. Wang serves as an associate editor of Applied Nanoscience, an editorial board member of Transactions of Tianjin University, a corresponding expert of Engineering and Frontiers of Information Technology & Electronic Engineering, a youth editorial committee member of Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, a member of international cooperation committee at Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China (CIESC), and a senior member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

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He, X., Tang, R., Yang, F. et al. Zirconia quantum dots for a nonvolatile resistive random access memory device. Front Inform Technol Electron Eng 20, 1698–1705 (2019).

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Key words

  • Zirconia quantum dot
  • Resistive switching
  • Memory device
  • Spin coating

CLC number

  • TN386.1