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Gate-tunable memristive phenomena mediated by grain boundaries in single-layer MoS2


Continued progress in high-speed computing depends on breakthroughs in both materials synthesis and device architectures1,2,3,4. The performance of logic and memory can be enhanced significantly by introducing a memristor5,6, a two-terminal device with internal resistance that depends on the history of the external bias voltage5,6,7. State-of-the-art memristors, based on metal–insulator–metal (MIM) structures with insulating oxides, such as TiO2, are limited by a lack of control over the filament formation and external control of the switching voltage3,4,6,8,9. Here, we report a class of memristors based on grain boundaries (GBs) in single-layer MoS2 devices10,11,12. Specifically, the resistance of GBs emerging from contacts can be easily and repeatedly modulated, with switching ratios up to 103 and a dynamic negative differential resistance (NDR). Furthermore, the atomically thin nature of MoS2 enables tuning of the set voltage by a third gate terminal in a field-effect geometry, which provides new functionality that is not observed in other known memristive devices.

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Figure 1: IV characteristics of MoS2 memristors.
Figure 2: GB migration.
Figure 3: EFM and spatially resolved PL images.
Figure 4: Gate-tunability of an intersecting-GB and a bisecting-GB memristor.


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This research was supported by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) of Northwestern University (NSF DMR-1121262) and the Office of Naval Research (N00014-14-1-0669). This work made use of the Electron Probe Instrumentation Center facility (Northwestern University Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center, Northwestern University), which has received support from the MRSEC (NSF DMR-1121262), Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSF EEC-0118025/003), State of Illinois and Northwestern University.

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V.K.S., T.J.M., L.J.L. and M.C.H. designed the experiments. V.K.S. and D.J. fabricated and measured the devices. I.S.K. performed the CVD, photoluminescence and Raman microscopy. V.K.S. and K-S.C. conducted the scanning probe microscopy (AFM/EFM) measurements. All authors wrote the manuscript and discussed the results at all stages.

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Correspondence to Lincoln J. Lauhon or Mark C. Hersam.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Sangwan, V., Jariwala, D., Kim, I. et al. Gate-tunable memristive phenomena mediated by grain boundaries in single-layer MoS2. Nature Nanotech 10, 403–406 (2015).

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