A low-power nonvolatile switching element based on copper-tungsten oxide solid electrolyte

Michael Kozicki, Chakravarthy Gopalan, Muralikrishnan Balakrishnan, Maria Mitkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


We describe the materials aspects and electrical characteristics of W - (Cu/WO 3) - Cu switching elements. These materials are compatible with back-end-of-line processing in CMOS integrated circuits where both tungsten and copper already play a significant role. Devices based on Cu/WO 3 solid electrolytes formed by photodiffusion of copper into tungsten oxide switch via the electrochemical formation of a conducting filament within the high resistance electrolyte film. They are able to switch reversibly between widely spaced nonvolatile resistance states at low voltage (<1 V) and current (< 10 μA). Electrical characterization revealed that devices consisting of plasma-grown oxides have a variable initial threshold voltage and poor retention, whereas devices based on deposited oxide exhibit a stable switching threshold and good retention, even at elevated operating temperature (> 125°C). This difference in behavior was attributed to the observation that the copper tends to oxidize in the plasma-grown oxide whereas the copper in the deposited oxide exists in an unbound state and is, therefore, more able to participate in the switching process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1695953
Pages (from-to)535-544
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Copper electrodeposition
  • Nonvolatile memory devices
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Resistance change
  • Solid electrolyte
  • Tungsten oxide
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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