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This content will become publicly available on March 22, 2017

Title: Role of atomistic structure in the stochastic nature of conductivity in substoichiometric tantalum pentoxide

In this study, first-principles calculations of electrical conductivity (σo) are revisited to determine the atomistic origin of its stochasticity in a distribution generated from sampling 14 ab-initio molecular dynamics configurations from 10 independently quenched models (n = 140) of substoichiometric amorphous Ta2O5, where each structure contains a neutral O monovacancy (VO0). Structural analysis revealed a distinct minimum Ta-Ta separation (dimer/trimer) corresponding to each VO0 location. Bader charge decomposition using a commonality analysis approach based on the σo distribution extremes revealed nanostructural signatures indicating that both the magnitude and distribution of cationic charge on the Ta subnetwork have a profound influence on σo. Furthermore, visualization of local defect structures and their electron densities reinforces these conclusions and suggests σo in the amorphous oxide is best suppressed by a highly charged, compact Ta cation shell that effectively screens and minimizes localized VO0 interaction with the a-Ta2O5 network; conversely, delocalization of VO0 corresponds to metallic character and high σo. The random network of a-Ta2O5 provides countless variations of an ionic configuration scaffold in which small perturbations affect the electronic charge distribution and result in a fixed-stoichiometry distribution of σo; consequently, precisely controlled and highly repeatable oxide fabrication processes are likely paramount for advancementmore » of resistive memory technologies.« less
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  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0021-8979; JAPIAU; 618608
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Applied Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 119; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 0021-8979
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY tantalum; crystal structure; amorphous metals; electrical resistivity; carrier density