Reversible and reproducible formation and dissolution of silver conductive filaments are studied in Ag-photodoped thin-film Ge40S60 subjected to electric fields. A tip-planar geometry is employed, where a conductive-atomic-force microscopy tip is the tip electrode and a silver patch is the planar electrode. We highlight an inherent "memory" effect in the amorphous chalcogenide solid-state electrolyte, in which particular silver-ion migration pathways are preserved "memorized" during writing and erasing cycles. The "memorized" pathways reflect structural changes in the photodoped chalcogenide film. Structural changes due to silver photodoping, and electrically-induced structural changes arising from silver migration, are elucidated using Raman spectroscopy. Conductive filament formation, dissolution, and electron (reduction) efficiency in a lateral device geometry are related to operation of the nano-ionic Programmable Metallization Cell memory and to newly emerging chalcogenide-based lateral geometry MEMS technologies. The methods in this work can also be used for qualitative multi-parameter sampling of metal/amorphous-chalcogenide combinations, characterizing the growth/dissolution rates, retention and endurance of fractal conductive filaments, with the aim of optimizing devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number077134
JournalAIP Advances
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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