Bulk and surface nucleation processes in Ag2S conductance switches

M. Morales-Masis*, S. J. Van Der Molen, T. Hasegawa, J. M. Van Ruitenbeek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


We studied metallic Ag formation inside and on the surface of Ag 2S thin films, induced by the electric field created with a scanning tunnel microscope (STM) tip. Two clear regimes were observed: cluster formation on the surface at low bias voltages, and full conductance switching at higher bias voltages (V>70 mV). The bias voltage at which this transition is observed is in agreement with the known threshold voltage for conductance switching at room temperature. We propose a model for the cluster formation at low bias voltage. Scaling of the measured data with the proposed model indicates that the process takes place near steady state, but depends on the STM tip geometry. The growth of the clusters is confirmed by tip retraction measurements and topography scans. This study provides improved understanding of the physical mechanisms that drive conductance switching in solid electrolyte memristive devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115310
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept 19
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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