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Boosting Polarization Switching-Induced Current Injection by Mechanical Force in Ferroelectric Thin Films

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journal contribution
posted on 26.05.2021, 06:44 by Fengyuan Zhang, Hua Fan, Bing Han, Yudong Zhu, Xiong Deng, David Edwards, Amit Kumar, Deyang Chen, Xingsen Gao, Zhen Fan, Brian J. Rodriguez
When scaling the lateral size of a ferroelectric random access memory (FeRAM) device down to the nanometer range, the polarization switching-induced displacement current becomes small and challenging to detect, which greatly limits the storage density of FeRAM. Here, we report the observation of significantly enhanced injection currents, much larger than typical switching currents, induced by polarization switching in BiFeO3 thin films via conductive atomic force microscopy. Interestingly, this injected current can be effectively modulated by applying mechanical force. As the loading force increases from ∼50 to ∼750 nN, the magnitude of the injected current increases and the critical voltage to trigger the current injection decreases. Notably, changing the loading force by an order of magnitude increases the peak current by 2–3 orders of magnitude. The mechanically boosted injected current could be useful for the development of high-density FeRAM devices. The mechanical modulation of the injected current may be attributed to the mechanical force-induced changes in the barrier height and interfacial layer width.