Atomically-thin memristors could yield ultra-high density memory  

January 18, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Applying 2D materials to the memristor concept, a team of multidisciplinary researchers from US and Chinese universities have demonstrated the scalability of nonvolatile resistance switching down to atomically-thin devices.

Reporting their results in ACS' Nano Letters in a paper titled "Atomristor: Nonvolatile Resistance Switching in Atomic Sheets of Transition Metal Dichalcogenides", the researchers extrapolate that the "atomristors", as they describe their devices, could yield memristor densities in the range of 1015/mm3, which would translate to a theoretical areal density of 6.4Tbit/in2 for single-bit single-level memory storage.


Optical image of the atomristor structure. 

Although it had been observed that a number of solution-processed multilayer two-dimensional (2D) material morphologies could yield a nonvolatile resistance switching (NVRS) behaviour, where a device's resistance can be modulated between a high-resistance state (HRS) and a low-resistance state (LRS) and retain those states without power, it is the first time that such a NVRS behaviour is observed in atomically-thin vertical metal–insulator–metal (MIM) devices, claim the researchers.


 Schematic illustration of atomristor. The top and bottom
electrodes (TE and BE) could be gold, while the TMD
could be MoS2.

To build their "atomristors", the scientists prepared synthetic atomic sheets of transitional metal dichalcogenide (TMD) such as MoS2, MoSe2, WS2 and WSe2, using standard chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and metal–organic CVD processes. They then transferred the atomically-thin sheets to sandwich them between different types of electrodes including silver, gold and even graphene. Nonvolatile resistance switching was observed in all cases. The crossbar devices consisted of TMD atomic sheets between top and bottom electrodes, on top of a Si/SiO2 device substrate.


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