Resistive Switching Memristor: On the Direct Observation of Physical Nature of Parameter Variability

Zheng Wang, Wei Xiao, Huiyong Yang, Shengjie Zhang, Yukun Zhang, Kai Sun, Ting Wang, Yujun Fu, Qi Wang*, Junyan Zhang, Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, Deyan He

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Ion-based memristive switching has attracted widespread attention from industries owing to its outstanding advantages in storage and neuromorphic computing. Major issues for achieving brain-inspired computation of highly functional memory in redox-based ion devices are relatively large variability in their operating parameters and limited cycling endurance. In some devices, volatile and nonvolatile operations often replace each other without changing operating conditions. To address these issues, it is important to observe directly what is happening in repeated operations. Herein, we use a planar device that enables direct capturing of microscopic behaviors in the nucleation and growth of metal whiskers under repeated switching to verify the microscopic origin of the large parameter variability. We report direct observations that reveal the physical origin for the large cycle-to-cycle and device-to-device variability in memristive switching, which was achieved using planar polymer atomic switches with a gap >1 μm. We find that the deposition location of metal atoms is closely related to the crystallinity of the ion transport layer (solid polymer electrolyte, SPE). The filament variability (shape, position, quantity, etc.) during different cycles and devices is indeed the main reason for the observed variability in the operating characteristics. The results shed unique light on the complexity of the operation of the ion device, that is, the evolution of the dielectric layer and metal filament must be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1557-1567
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 12


  • in situ XRD
  • ionics
  • memristor
  • resistive switching
  • solid polymer electrolyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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