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The role of arsenic in the operation of sulfur-based electrical threshold switches.

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Wu, Renjie 
Gu, Rongchuan 
Zhao, Zihao 
Sun, Yuting 


Arsenic is an essential dopant in conventional silicon-based semiconductors and emerging phase-change memory (PCM), yet the detailed functional mechanism is still lacking in the latter. Here, we fabricate chalcogenide-based ovonic threshold switching (OTS) selectors, which are key units for suppressing sneak currents in 3D PCM arrays, with various As concentrations. We discovered that incorporation of As into GeS brings >100 °C increase in crystallization temperature, remarkably improving the switching repeatability and prolonging the device lifetime. These benefits arise from strengthened As-S bonds and sluggish atomic migration after As incorporation, which reduces the leakage current by more than an order of magnitude and significantly suppresses the operational voltage drift, ultimately enabling a back-end-of-line-compatible OTS selector with >12 MA/cm2 on-current, ~10 ns speed, and a lifetime approaching 1010 cycles after 450 °C annealing. These findings allow the precise performance control of GeSAs-based OTS materials for high-density 3D PCM applications.


Acknowledgements: Financial support was provided by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB44010200). M. Zhu acknowledges support from the National Outstanding Youth Program (62322411), the Hundred Talents Program (Chinese Academy of Sciences), and the Shanghai Rising-Star Program (21QA1410800). M. Xu acknowledges the National Key R&D Plan of China (2022ZD0117600) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (62174060). T. Gotoh acknowledges the JSPS KAKENHI (21K04861).

Funder: MEXT | JST | Strategic Promotion of Innovative R and D (Strategic Promotion of Innovative R&D); doi:


40 Engineering, 4009 Electronics, Sensors and Digital Hardware

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Nat Commun

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
National Outstanding Youth Foundation of China (62322411)