A reactive magnetron sputtering route for attaining a controlled core-rim phase partitioning in Cu2O/CuO thin films with resistive switching potential

A. A. Ogwu, T. H. Darma

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The achievement of a reproducible and controlled deposition of partitioned Cu 2O/CuO thin films by techniques compatible with ULSI processing like reactive magnetron sputtering has been reported as an outstanding challenge in the literature. This phase partitioning underlies their performance as reversible resistive memory switching devices in advanced microelectronic applications of the future. They are currently fabricated by thermal oxidation and chemical methods. We have used a combination of an understanding from plasma chemistry thermo-kinetics of ions and rf power variation during deposition to successfully identify a processing window for preparing partitioned Cu 2O/CuO films. The production of a core rich Cu 2O and surface rich Cu 2O/CuO mixture necessary for oxygen migration during resistive switching is confirmed by XRD peaks Fourier transform infra red Cu (I)-O vibrational modes XPS Cu 2P3/2 and O 1S peak fitting and a comparison of satellite peak ratio's in Cu 2P3/2 fitted peaks. We are proposing based on the findings reported in this paper that an XPS satellite peak intensity(Is) to main peak intensity ratio (Im)  ≤ ≤ 0.45 as an indicator of a core rich Cu 2O and surface rich Cu 2O/CuO formation in our prepared films. CuO is solely responsible for the satellite peaks. This is explained on the basis that plasma dissociation of oxygen will be limited to the predominant formation of Cu 2O under certain plasma deposition conditions we have identified in this paper which also results in a core-rim phase partitioning. The deposited films also followed a Volmer-Weber columnar growth mode which could facilitate oxygen vacancy migration and conductive filaments at the columnar interfaces. This is further confirmed by optical transmittance and band-gap measurements using spectrophotometry. This development is expected to impact on the early adoption of copper oxide based resistive memory electronic switching devices in advanced electronic devices of the future. The relative abundance of copper is another major complementary driver for the interest in copper oxide films.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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