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A ferroelectric memristor


Memristors are continuously tunable resistors that emulate biological synapses1,2. Conceptualized in the 1970s, they traditionally operate by voltage-induced displacements of matter, although the details of the mechanism remain under debate3,4,5. Purely electronic memristors based on well-established physical phenomena with albeit modest resistance changes have also emerged6,7. Here we demonstrate that voltage-controlled domain configurations in ferroelectric tunnel barriers8,9,10 yield memristive behaviour with resistance variations exceeding two orders of magnitude and a 10 ns operation speed. Using models of ferroelectric-domain nucleation and growth11,12, we explain the quasi-continuous resistance variations and derive a simple analytical expression for the memristive effect. Our results suggest new opportunities for ferroelectrics as the hardware basis of future neuromorphic computational architectures.

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Figure 1: Tuning resistance and ferroelectric domain configuration with voltage amplitude.
Figure 2: Experimental pulse duration/pulse number phase diagrams.
Figure 3: Tuning resistance by consecutive identical pulses.
Figure 4: Polarization switching dynamics.


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Financial support from the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grant No. 267579 and ERC Starting Grant No. 259068) and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) MHANN and NOMILOPS are acknowledged. X.M. acknowledges Herchel Smith Fellowship support. We would like to thank J. F. Scott, B. Dkhil and L. Bellaiche for useful comments.

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Authors and Affiliations



V.G., M.B., A.B. and J.G. designed the experiment. X.M., S.X., H.Y., C.D. and N.D.M. fabricated the samples. A.C., V.G., K.B., S.F. and M.B. performed the measurements. A.C., V.G., R.O.C., M.B., A.B. and J.G. analysed the data. M.B., A.B. and J.G. wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the data and contributed to the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Agnès Barthélémy.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Chanthbouala, A., Garcia, V., Cherifi, R. et al. A ferroelectric memristor. Nature Mater 11, 860–864 (2012).

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