Proton exchange reactions in SiOx-based resistive switching memory: Review and insights from impedance spectroscopy

Yao Feng Chang, Burt Fowler, Ying Chen Chen, Jack C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


In this work, the AC admittance and conductance of non-polar SiOx-based resistive switching memory devices is measured as a function of temperature to investigate charge transport and potential switching mechanisms. After electroforming using a forward/backward voltage scan, devices were measured over the frequency range of 1 k–1 MHz and the temperature range of 200–400 K. For temperature (T) > 300 K, AC conductance follows σ(ω) = Aωs, where s is linearly dependent on temperature and close to, but less than, unity. For T < 300 K, σ(ω) is almost temperature-independent with s ∼ 1. A classical hopping model and AC impedance spectroscopy measurements are found to provide reasonable explanations of the experimental data. Defect concentration is estimated to be 1–5 × 1019 cm−3 and independent of device resistive state when modeling charge transport using a polaron hopping characteristic. The energy barrier to electron hopping is estimated to change from 0.1 eV to 0.6 eV and the average hopping distance varies from 1 nm to 6 nm when the device is switched between low- and high-resistance states, respectively. Device switching mechanisms are modeled by simple proton exchange reactions that both activate and deactivate the defects involved in change transport. The impedance spectroscopy results supporting hole-like polaron hopping and the values obtained for the physical parameters provide additional insights into the fundamental mechanisms of SiOx-based resistive memory. Uniform switching performance with robust high temperature reliability and fast operating speed demonstrate good potential for future nonvolatile memory applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Solid State Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Non-polar
  • Proton exchange
  • RRAM
  • Resistive switching
  • Silicon oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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