Si/a-Si core/shell nanowires as nonvolatile crossbar switches

Yajie Dong, Guihua Yu, Michael C. McAlpine, Wei Lu, Charles M. Lieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


Radial core/shell nanowires (NWs) represent an important class of nanoscale building blocks with substantial potential for exploring fundamental electronic properties and realizing novel device applications at the nanoscale. Here, we report the synthesis of crystalline silicon/amorphous silicon (Si/a-Si) core/shell NWs and studies of crossed Si/a-Si NW metal NW (Si/a-Si x M) devices and arrays. Room-temperature electrical measurements on single Si/a-Si x Ag NW devices exhibit bistable switching between high (off) and low (on) resistance states with well-defined switching threshold voltages, on/off ratios greater than 10 4, and current rectification in the on state. Temperature-dependent switching experiments suggest that rectification can be attributed to barriers to electric field-driven metal diffusion. Systematic studies of Si/a-Si x Ag NW devices show that (i) the bit size can be at least as small as 20 nm × 20 nm, (ii) the writing time is <100 ns, (iii) the retention time is >2 weeks, and (iv) devices can be switched >10 4 times without degradation in performance. In addition, studies of dense one-dimensional and two-dimensional Si/a-Si × Ag NW devices arrays fabricated on crystalline and plastic substrates show that elements within the arrays can be independently switched and read, and moreover that bends with radii of curvature as small as 0.3 cm cause little change in device characteristics. The Si/a-Si x Ag NW devices represent a highly scalable and promising nanodevice element for assembly and fabrication of dense nonvolatile memory and programmable nanoprocessors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-391
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


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