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Identification of atomic scale mechanisms active in resistance switching devices by atom probe tomography


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. This project involved characterization of complex layer structured materials which required new sample preparation procedures for atom probe tomography (APT) measurements. A custom designed sample holder was produced in-house which facilitated in the preparation of APT tips using dual-beam focussed ion beam, which were transferred to APT for measurement without any further modifications to the produced APT tips. Two sets of samples, each having different layer sequences, were investigated using this new apparatus. The first set of experiments were performed on a sample with a HfO surface layer deposited on a Si substrate with Niforming the intermediate conducting layer. However, this configuration did not result in any successful APT measurement. A second sample with inverted layering sequence was prepared with Cu as the exposed surface layer, which protected the underlying HfO layer deposited over Si substrate. This configuration produced the first successful APT result after several trials. The measurement indicated that Cu does not diffuse along grain boundaries or interfaces into the HfO layer in the as-synthesized electrically unstressed condition. Such a configuration favors in the development of this layered configuration as potential resistance switching devices



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