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Electronic two-terminal bistable graphitic memories


Transistors are the basis for electronic switching and memory devices as they exhibit extreme reliabilities with on/off ratios of 104–105, and billions of these three-terminal devices can be fabricated on single planar substrates. On the other hand, two-terminal devices coupled with a nonlinear current–voltage response can be considered as alternatives provided they have large and reliable on/off ratios and that they can be fabricated on a large scale using conventional or easily accessible methods. Here, we report that two-terminal devices consisting of discontinuous 5–10 nm thin films of graphitic sheets grown by chemical vapour deposition on either nanowires or atop planar silicon oxide exhibit enormous and sharp room-temperature bistable current–voltage behaviour possessing stable, rewritable, non-volatile and non-destructive read memories with on/off ratios of up to 107 and switching times of up to 1 μs (tested limit). A nanoelectromechanical mechanism is proposed for the unusually pronounced switching behaviour in the devices.

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Figure 1: The G–SiO2 nanocable devices and their IV behaviour.
Figure 2: Memory properties of G–SiO2 nanocable devices.
Figure 3: Possible NEM switching mechanism in G-based nanocables.
Figure 4: Planar-based design of the graphitic bistable IV device.


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This work was partially supported by NASA through the TiiMS URETI. The authors thank Y. Bando and D. Golberg of the National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba, Japan, for kindly providing G–SiO2–SiC nanocables.

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Authors and Affiliations



Y.L. synthesized G-coated nanocables. Y.L. and A.S. carried out device fabrication, SEM and AFM analyses and electrical measurements. Y.L. also carried out HRTEM analysis. Y.L., A.S. and J.M.T. wrote the paper. J.M.T. oversaw all phases of the research.

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Correspondence to James M. Tour.

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Li, Y., Sinitskii, A. & Tour, J. Electronic two-terminal bistable graphitic memories. Nature Mater 7, 966–971 (2008).

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