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The process of the formation and disruption of nanometric conductive filaments in a HfO {sub 2}/TiN structure is investigated by conductive atomic force microscopy. The preforming state evidences nonhomogeneous conduction at high fields through conductive paths, which are associated with pre-existing defects and develop into conductive filaments with a forming procedure. The disruption of the same filaments is demonstrated as well, according to a bipolar operation. In addition, the conductive tip of the microscopy is exploited to perform electrical operations on single conductive spots, which evidences that neighboring conductive filaments are not electrically independent. We propose a picture that describes the evolution of the shape of the conductive filaments in the processes of their formation and disruption, which involves the development of conductive branches from a common root; this root resides in the pre-existing defects that lay at the HfO {sub 2}/TiN interface.(paper)
Publication date: 
2 Sep 2014
Biblio References: 
Volume: 25 Issue: 38