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Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8263904, 10 pages
Research Article

Understanding the Resistive Switching Phenomena of Stacked Al/Al2O3/Al Thin Films from the Dynamics of Conductive Filaments

National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics, Luis Enrique Erro No. 1, 72840 Tonantzintla, PUE, Mexico

Correspondence should be addressed to Joel Molina-Reyes

Received 5 May 2017; Accepted 11 July 2017; Published 20 September 2017

Academic Editor: Sundarapandian Vaidyanathan

Copyright © 2017 Joel Molina-Reyes and Luis Hernandez-Martinez. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present the resistive switching characteristics of Metal-Insulator-Metal (MIM) devices based on amorphous Al2O3 which is deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). A maximum processing temperature for this memory device is 300°C, making it ideal for Back-End-of-Line (BEOL) processing. Although some variations in the forming, set, and reset voltages (, , and ) are obtained for many of the measured MIM devices (mainly due to roughness variations of the MIM interfaces as observed after atomic-force microscopy analysis), the memristor effect has been obtained after cyclic measurements. These resistive transitions in the metal oxide occur for both bipolar and unipolar conditions, while the ratio is around 4–6 orders of magnitude and is formed at gate voltages of  V. In unipolar mode, a gradual reduction in is observed and is related to combined (a) incomplete dissolution of conductive filaments (made of oxygen vacancies and metal ions) which leaves some residuals and (b) thickening of chemically reduced Al2O3 during localized Joule heating. This is important because, by analyzing the macroscopic resistive switching behavior of this MIM structure, we could indirectly relate it to microscopic and/or nanoscopic phenomena responsible for the physical mechanism upon which most of these devices operate.