In ferroelectric tunnel junctions, the tunnel resistance depends on the polarization orientation of the ferroelectric tunnel barrier, giving rise to tunnel electroresistance. These devices are promising to be used as memristors in neuromorphic architectures and as non‐volatile memory elements. For both applications device scalability is essential, which requires a clear understanding of the relationship between polarization reversal and resistance change as junction size shrinks. Here we show robust tunnel electroresistance in BiFeO3‐based junctions with diameters ranging from 1200 to 180nm. We demonstrate that the tunnel electroresistance and the corresponding fraction of reversed ferroelectric domains change drastically with the junction diameter: while micron‐size junctions display reversal in less than 10% of the area, the smallest junctions show an almost complete polarization reversal. Modeling the electric‐field distribution, we highlight the critical role of the bottom electrode resistance which significantly diminishes the actual electric field applied to the ferroelectric barrier in the mixed polarization state. A polarization‐dependent critical electric field below which further reversal is prohibited is found to explain the large differences between the ferroelectric switchability of nano‐ and micron‐size junctions. Our results indicate that ferroelectric junctions are downscalable and suggest that specific junction shapes facilitate complete polarization reversal.
Boyn, S., Douglas, A. M., Blouzon, C., Turner, P., Barthelemy, A., Bibes, M., Fusil, S., Gregg, J. M., & Garcia, V. (2016). Tunnel electroresistance in BiFeO3 junctions: size does matter. Applied Physics Letters, 109, . https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4971311