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Accumulative Polarization Reversal in Nanoscale Ferroelectric Transistors

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journal contribution
posted on 27.06.2018, 00:00 by Halid Mulaosmanovic, Thomas Mikolajick, Stefan Slesazeck
The electric-field-driven and reversible polarization switching in ferroelectric materials provides a promising approach for nonvolatile information storage. With the advent of ferroelectricity in hafnium oxide, it has become possible to fabricate ultrathin ferroelectric films suitable for nanoscale electronic devices. Among them, ferroelectric field-effect transistors (FeFETs) emerge as attractive memory elements. While the binary switching between the two logic states, accomplished through a single voltage pulse, is mainly being investigated in FeFETs, additional and unusual switching mechanisms remain largely unexplored. In this work, we report the natural property of ferroelectric hafnium oxide, embedded within a nanoscale FeFET, to accumulate electrical excitation, followed by a sudden and complete switching. The accumulation is attributed to the progressive polarization reversal through localized ferroelectric nucleation. The electrical experiments reveal a strong field and time dependence of the phenomenon. These results not only offer novel insights that could prove critical for memory applications but also might inspire to exploit FeFETs for unconventional computing.