Non-thermal resistive switching in Mott insulator nanowires


Y. Kalcheim, Camjayi, A., del Valle, J., Salev, P., Rozenberg, M., and Schuller, I. K., “Non-thermal resistive switching in Mott insulator nanowires”, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 2985, 2020.


Resistive switching can be achieved in a Mott insulator by applying current/voltage, which triggers an insulator-metal transition (IMT). This phenomenon is key for understanding IMT physics and developing novel memory elements and brain-inspired technology. Despite this, the roles of electric field and Joule heating in the switching process remain controversial. Using nanowires of two archetypal Mott insulators—VO2 and V2O3 we unequivocally show that a purely non-thermal electrical IMT can occur in both materials. The mechanism behind this effect is identified as field-assisted carrier generation leading to a doping driven IMT. This effect can be controlled by similar means in both VO2 and V2O3, suggesting that the proposed mechanism is generally applicable to Mott insulators. The energy consumption associated with the non-thermal IMT is extremely low, rivaling that of state-of-the-art electronics and biological neurons. These findings pave the way towards highly energy-efficient applications of Mott insulators.