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Investigation of Metal Diffusion in Oxides for CBRAM Applications

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Short Description

The goal of this project is to develop a framework for the determination of diffusion parameters of metal atoms in amorphous oxides. In the first stage of the project, you will become familiar with state-of-the-art simulation software involving density functional theory (DFT) and/or force-field based techniques. In parallel, you will learn how to deal with large data sets and how to process them efficiently by your own analysis scripts. In the second stage, you will createa framework which allows you to set up, run and analyze a large number of simulations efficiently on our in-house HPC clusters. In a third stage (Master’s thesis), you will apply your framework to a large number of metal/oxide pairs and analyze them regarding their applicability in CBRAM applications

The Big Picture

Conductive bridging RAM (CBRAM)is an emerging(non-)volatile memory storage technology. Its operation principle relies on the repeatable formation and disruption of a metallic filament bridging an oxide layer sandwiched between two electrodes. Therein, the diffusivity of the involved metal ions in the oxide plays a crucial role by governing the rate of growth and dissolution of the filament. The Nano-TCAD group has developed a model in COMSOL to simulate ON/OFF switching in CBRAM. So far, the model depends on a number of free input parameters, among them critical ones such as the diffusion coefficients of the involved species. Therefore, we aim at replacing these by values derived from DFT. Eventually, this refined model should not only help us to understand and confirm results obtained from experimental measurements, but could also be used to predict the behavior of new, not-yet-fabricated devices.

The Environment-IBM Research Zurich

IBM Research GmbH, Zurich Research Laboratory (ZRL), with approximately 350 employees, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the IBM Research division with headquarters at the T.J. Watson Research Centre in Yorktown Heights, NY, USA. ZRL, which was established in 1956, represents the European branch of IBM Research. At ZRL scientific and industrial research is conducted in five scientific and technical departments, in particular in the: Science and Technology department.

Throughout the history of this department, scientists have made major contributions to the advancement of knowledge in solid-state physics, stimulated by problems relevant to technology. Today research focuses on different areas of technological significance, such as photonics and optoelectronics, CMOS and post-CMOS, micro fabrication, packaging and life sciences. This effort is supported by the newly opened Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Centre, offering state of the art micro fabrication yet with the required flexibility for any research at the frontier between industrial and academic research.

With more than 100 students and young researchers (including Master and PhD students, as well as postdoctoral researchers), our laboratory offers a dynamic and international environment for excellent science and provides a unique opportunity to extend your research skills. The laboratory equipment for the project defined in this Master thesis is state-of-the art, and allows to perform novel and exciting experiments.

Status: Available

Looking for 1 Master student
Interested candidates please contact: Dr. Stephan Abel
ETH Contact: Mathieu Luisier


We are seeking a candidate with a strong interest in integrated optics as well as basic knowledge of microcontroller programming, object-oriented programming and circuit design. You should be enrolled as a student at ETH Zurich. For this master project you should be available for a period of at least 6 months starting in Fall 2018.


Mathieu Luisier

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