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Temperature Distribution in TaOx Resistive Switching Devices Assessed In Operando by Scanning Thermal Microscopy



Jingjia Meng, Jonathan Goodwill, Evgheni Strelcov, Kefei Bao, Jabez J. McClelland, Marek Skowronski


Understanding the physical changes during electroformation and switching processes in transition-metal-oxide-based non-volatile memory devices is important for advancing this technology. Relatively few characteristics of these devices have been assessed in operando. In this work, we present scanning thermal microscopy measurements in vacuum on TaOx-based memory devices electroformed in both positive and negative polarities and high- and low-resistance states. Observed surface temperature footprints of the filament showed higher peak temperatures and narrower temperature distributions when the top electrode served as the anode in the electroformation process. This is consistent with a model in which a hot spot is created by a gap in the conducting filament that forms closest to the anode. Similar behavior was seen comparing the high-resistance state to the low-resistance state, with the low-resistance footprint showing a lower peak and a larger width, consistent with the gap disappearing when the device is switched from high resistance to low resistance.
ACS Applied Electronic Materials


Resistive switches, scanning thermal microscopy, electroformation, TaOx memory devices, transition metal oxides, nanoscale thermal distribution


Meng, J. , Goodwill, J. , Strelcov, E. , Bao, K. , McClelland, J. and Skowronski, M. (2023), Temperature Distribution in TaOx Resistive Switching Devices Assessed In Operando by Scanning Thermal Microscopy, ACS Applied Electronic Materials, [online],, (Accessed July 22, 2024)


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Created April 10, 2023, Updated April 25, 2023