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Open Access Publications from the University of California

One Nanometer HfO2-Based Ferroelectric Tunnel Junctions on Silicon


In ferroelectric materials, spontaneous symmetry breaking leads to a switchable electric polarization, which offers significant promise for nonvolatile memories. In particular, ferroelectric tunnel junctions (FTJs) have emerged as a new resistive switching memory which exploits polarization-dependent tunnel current across a thin ferroelectric barrier. This work integrates FTJs with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor-compatible Zr-doped HfO2 (Zr:HfO2) ferroelectric barriers of just 1 nm thickness, grown by atomic layer deposition on silicon. These 1 nm Zr:HfO2 tunnel junctions exhibit large polarization-driven electroresistance (>20 000%), the largest value reported for HfO2-based FTJs. In addition, due to just a 1 nm ferroelectric barrier, these junctions provide large tunneling current (>1 A cm−2) at low read voltage, orders of magnitude larger than reported thicker HfO2-based FTJs. Therefore, this proof-of-principle demonstration provides an approach to simultaneously overcome three major drawbacks of prototypical FTJs: a Si-compatible ultrathin ferroelectric, large electroresistance, and large read current for high-speed operation.

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