Journal article

Nature of nonlinear imprint in ferroelectric films and long-term prediction of polarization loss in ferroelectric memories

The phenomenon of polarization imprint consisting of the development of a preferential polarization state in ferroelectric films is known as one of the major issues impacting the development of high density ferroelectric memories. According to the commonly accepted scenario, the imprint is related to the charge injection and charge accumulation in the nearby-electrode passive layer of the ferroelectric film. Recent studies demonstrated that the coercive voltage shift induced by the imprint exhibits a nonlinear time dependence in a logarithmic scale. This result was interpreted as the presence of two different imprint mechanisms characterized by different activation energies. In the present work, an analytical theory of the injection scenario of imprint is developed. The charge accumulation at the interface is shown to provoke a voltage offset and polarization loss which are nonlinearly dependent on the time in logarithmic scale. This result is obtained for different charge injection mechanisms including Schottky, Pool-Frenkel, and tunneling scenarios. Thus, it is shown that a single imprint mechanism can be responsible for a nolinear (in logarithmic scale) time dependence of the voltage offset and polarization loss. Additionally, the temperature dependence of the logarithmic rate of imprint is shown to be nonexponential. The developed model ties together the time and temperature dependences of imprint. For the experimental verification of the model a study of imprint has been performed on (111) Pb(Zr,Ti)O-3 film capacitors with temperatures ranging from 25 to 150degreesC and exposure times up to 1000 h. It has been found that the theory developed adequately describes the obtained experimental data. Based upon the theoretical and experimental results a test for ferroelectric memories is proposed, which enables the long-term prediction of polarization loss caused by imprint for a wide temperature range and for different operating voltages. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.


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