Film morphology and substrate strain contributions to ramp reversal memory in v O2

Avital Fried, Elihu Anouchi, Gili Cohen Taguri, Jonathan Shvartzberg, Amos Sharoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ramp reversal memory (RRM) effect that appears in thin films with temperature-driven insulator-metal transitions (IMTs) is a nonvolatile memory effect induced by a simple reversal of temperature ramping from heating to cooling during the phase-coexistence state of the IMT (when both metallic and insulating domains coexist). The memory of specific temperatures can be recorded by this ramp reversal, which appears as a resistance increase around the reversal temperatures. Previous studies showed RRM in VO2, V2O3, and NdNiO3, indicating it is a general effect in relevant systems. These studies indicate the RRM originates from an increase in the critical temperature around phase boundaries of the coexisting metallic and insulating domains during the temperature ramp reversal. However, the physical mechanism responsible for the TC increase remains elusive. To enhance our understanding of the effect and provide clues to the underlying physics, it is crucial to understand the role of materials' properties, such as thickness, grain size, and choice of substrate, which have yet to be explored. We report the RRM properties in VO2 thin films as a function of these parameters, namely choice of substrate, crystallographic properties, film thickness, and morphology. We find that films' grain size correlates with the RRM magnitude. The film thickness has a positive effect on the RRM, but at a much lesser extent. Interestingly, thinning films by a wet-etching process had almost no effect on RRM properties, indicating that the grain structure and interaction with substrate defined during deposition determines the RRM features. This was further corroborated by comparing of films grown epitaxially on sapphire with those grown nonepitaxially on SiO2/Si substrates, where the latter show a fivefold increase in RRM magnitude. These findings support the hypothesis that strain (or strain gradients) and strain relaxation develop at phase-separated grain boundaries during the ramp reversal process, which controls the magnitude of the RRM effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015002
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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