Intrinsic limits of leakage current in self-heating-triggered threshold switches Academic Article uri icon


  • Threshold switches, which typically exhibit an abrupt increase in current at an onset voltage, have been used as selector devices to suppress leakage current in crosspoint arrays of two-terminal resistive switching memory devices. One of the most important metrics for selector devices is the leakage or low-voltage current, which limits the maximum achievable size of the crosspoint memory array. Here, we show that for self-heating-triggered threshold switches, there is an intrinsic lower limit to the leakage current resulting from the need to avoid an electric field-induced breakdown of the active material. We provide a quantitative theoretical estimate of this limit for NbOx threshold switches, one of the most widely studied selectors, and provide a plausible explanation for the experimentally observed leakage currents in NbOx. Our results provide some guidelines for achieving minimum leakage currents in threshold switches.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, Z., Kumar, S., Williams, R. S., Nishi, Y., & Wong, H.

citation count

  • 9

publication date

  • May 2019