J. del Valle, et al., “Subthreshold firing in Mott nanodevices”, Nature, vol. 569, p. 388-392, 2019. WebsiteAbstract
Resistive switching, a phenomenon in which the resistance of a device can be modified by applying an electric field1-5, is at the core of emerging technologies such as neuromorphic computing and resistive memories6-9. Among the different types of resistive switching, threshold firing10-14 is one of the most promising, as it may enable the implementation of artificial spiking neurons7,13,14. Threshold firing is observed in Mott insulators featuring an insulator-to-metal transition15,16, which can be triggered by applying an external voltage: the material becomes conducting ('fires') if a threshold voltage is exceeded7,10-12. The dynamics of this induced transition have been thoroughly studied, and its underlying mechanism and characteristic time are well documented10,12,17,18. By contrast, there is little knowledge regarding the opposite transition: the process by which the system returns to the insulating state after the voltage is removed. Here we show that Mott nanodevices retain a memory of previous resistive switching events long after the insulating resistance has recovered. We demonstrate that, although the device returns to its insulating state within 50 to 150?nanoseconds, it is possible to re-trigger the insulator-to-metal transition by using subthreshold voltages for a much longer time (up to several milliseconds). We find that the intrinsic metastability of first-order phase transitions is the origin of this phenomenon, and so it is potentially present in all Mott systems. This effect constitutes a new type of volatile memory in Mott-based devices, with potential applications in resistive memories, solid-state frequency discriminators and neuromorphic circuits.
F. Tesler, et al., “Relaxation of a Spiking Mott Artificial Neuron”, PHYSICAL REVIEW APPLIED, vol. 10, p. 054001, 2018.Abstract
We consider the phenomenon of electric Mott transition (EMT), which is an electrically induced insulator-to-metal transition. Experimentally, it is observed that depending on the magnitude of the electric excitation, the final state may show a short-lived or a long-lived resistance change. We extend a previous model for the EMT to include the effect of local structural distortions through an elastic energy term. We find that by strong electric pulsing, the induced metastable phase may become further stabilized by the electroelastic effect. We present a systematic study of the model by numerical simulations and compare the results to experiments in Mott insulators of the AM(4)Q(8) family. Our work significantly extends the scope of our recently introduced leaky-integrate-and-fire Mott neuron {[}P. Stoliar et al., Adv. Funct. Mat. 27, 1604740 (2017)] to provide a better insight into the physical mechanism of its relaxation. This is a key feature for future implementations of neuromorphic circuits.