We employ an advanced three-dimensional (3D) electro-thermal simulator to explore the physics and potential of oxide-based resistive random-access memory (RRAM) cells. The physical simulation model has been developed recently, and couples a kinetic Monte Carlo study of electron and ionic transport to the self-heating phenomenon while accounting carefully for the physics of vacancy generation and recombination, and trapping mechanisms. The simulation framework successfully captures resistance switching, including the electroforming, set and reset processes, by modeling the dynamics of conductive filaments in the 3D space. This work focuses on the promising yet less studied RRAM structures based on silicon-rich silica (SiOx) RRAMs. We explain the intrinsic nature of resistance switching of the SiOx layer, analyze the effect of self-heating on device performance, highlight the role of the initial vacancy distributions acting as precursors for switching, and also stress the importance of using 3D physics-based models to capture accurately the switching processes. The simulation work is backed by experimental studies. The simulator is useful for improving our understanding of the little-known physics of SiOx resistive memory devices, as well as other oxide-based RRAM systems (e.g. transition metal oxide RRAMs), offering design and optimization capabilities with regard to the reliability and variability of memory cells.
- electronic charge transport
- kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) simulations
- Si-rich silica (SiOx) RRAMs