Available student project - Resistive switching in transition-metal oxides and its use in nonvolatile memory devices

Research fields

  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
a) Nonvolatile memory test structure and b) resistive switching characteristics of a nonvolatile memory device.

Project details

In thin film form, transition metal oxides can be subjected to intense electric fields and thermal gradients and are known to exhibit characteristic resistance changes, including resistive-, threshold- and complementary-switching behaviour that is well suited to applications such as nonvolatile memory, low power oxide electronics, bio- and environmental-sensing and neuromorphic computing.  

Resistive switching is of particular interest for non-volatile memory applications as it involves a resistance change that can be reversibly switched between stable high- and low-resistance states by the application of suitable voltage pulses.  It is now generally agreed that these resistance changes are the result of thermally enhanced, electric-stress driven structural changes resulting from defect generation/migration and associated chemical (Redox) processes. Moreover, the resistance change is believed to be confined to a filamentary conduction path just a few nanometres in diameter and is therefore largely independent of the film/device area.  Due to the nonlinearly of the ion (defect) transport and the small volume of the active region, resistive switching can also be extremely fast (

This project will combine experimental work, computer simulation and modelling to investigate the physical processes underpinning resistive switching in transition metal oxides (e.g. Ta2O5, HfO2, Nb2O5 and NbO2) and to explore its application in future non-volatile memory (i.e. ReRAM) devices.

Through the project, the student will develop skills in the area(s) of:

  • Nanotechnology, including nanoscale fabrication and nanoscale characterisation
  • Advanced materials processing and characterisation
  • Semiconductor clean-room technology
  • Multiphysics modelling of complex physical phenomena
  • Data acquisition, analysis and interpretation
  • Critical thinking
  • Scientific communication (oral and written)

Required background

Physics, Engineering or Materials Science

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Elliman, Robert profile

Other supervisor(s)

Nandi, Sanjoy profile

Updated:  21 June 2021/ Responsible Officer:  Head of Department/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster