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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Stephen Nonnenmann

Subject Categories

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Polymer and Organic Materials | Semiconductor and Optical Materials


Miniaturization of conventional nonvolatile (NVM) memory devices is rapidly approaching the physical limitations of the constituent materials. An emerging random access memory (RAM), nanoscale resistive RAM (RRAM), has the potential to replace conventional nonvolatile memory and could foster novel type of computing due to its fast switching speed, high scalability, and low power consumption. RRAM, or memristors, represent a class of two terminal devices comprising an insulating layer, such as a metal oxide, sandwiched between two terminal electrodes that exhibits two or more distinct resistance states that depend on the history of the applied bias. While the sudden resistance reduction into a conductive state in metal oxide insulators has been known for almost 50 years, the fundamental resistive switching mechanism is a complex phenomenon that is still long-debated, complex process. Further improvements to existing memristor performance require a complete understanding of memristive properties under various operation conditions. Additional technical issues also remain, such as the development of facile, low-cost fabrication methods as an alternative to expensive, ultra-high vacuum (UHV) deposition methods. This collection of work explores resistive switching within metal oxide-based memristive material assemblies by analyzing the fundamental physical insulating material properties. Chapter 3 aims to translate the utility and simplicity of the highly ordered anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) template structure to complex, yet more functional (memristive) materials. Functional oxides possessing ordered, scalable nanoporous arrays and nanocapacitor arrays over a large area is of interest to both the fields of next-generation electronics and energy storing/harvesting devices. Here their switching performance will be evaluated using conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM). Chapter 4 demonstrates a convective self-assembly fabrication method that effectively enables the synthesis of a low-cost solution processed memristor comprising binary oxide and perovskite ABO3 nanocrystals of varying diameter. Chapter 5 systematically compares the influence of inter-nanoparticle distance on the threshold switching SET voltage of hafnium oxide (HfO2) memristors. Utilizing shorter phosphonic acid ligands with higher binding affinity on the nanocrystal surface enabled a record-low SET voltage to be achieved. Chapter 6 extends the scope to the fine tuning of solution processed memristors with two types of perovskites nanocrystals. The primary advantage of nanocrystal memristors is the ability to draw from additional degrees of freedom by tuning the constituent nanocrystal material properties. Recent advancement of solution phase techniques enables a high degree of controllability over the nanocrystal size and structure. Thus, this work found in this dissertation aims to understand and decouple the effects of the geometric size and substitutional nanocrystal parameters on resistive switching.