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Title: Evolutionary Optimization of a Charge Transfer Ionic Potential Model for Ta/Ta-Oxide Heterointerfaces

Heterostructures of tantalum and its oxide are of tremendous technological interest for a myriad of technological applications, including electronics, thermal management, catalysis and biochemistry. In particular, local oxygen stoichiometry variation in TaO x memristors comprising of thermodynamically stable metallic (Ta) and insulating oxide (Ta 2O 5) have been shown to result in fast switching on the subnanosecond timescale over a billion cycles. This rapid switching opens up the potential for advanced functional platforms such as stateful logic operations and neuromorphic computation. Despite its broad importance, an atomistic scale understanding of oxygen stoichiometry variation across Ta/TaO x heterointerfaces, such as during early stages of oxidation and oxide growth, is not well understood. This is mainly due to the lack of a unified interatomic potential model for tantalum oxides that can accurately describe metallic (Ta), ionic (TaO x) as well as mixed (Ta/TaO x interfaces) bonding environments simultaneously. To address this challenge, we introduce a Charge Transfer Ionic Potential (CTIP) model for Ta/Ta-oxide system by training against lattice parameters, cohesive energies, equations of state (EOS), elastic properties, and surface energies of the various experimentally observed Ta 2O 5 polymorphs (hexagonal, orthorhombic and monoclinic) obtained from density functional theory (DFT) calculations. The bestmore » CTIP parameters are determined by employing a global optimization scheme driven by genetic algorithms followed by local Simplex optimization. Our newly developed CTIP potential accurately predicts structure, thermodynamics, energetic ordering of polymorphs, as well as elastic and surface properties of both Ta and Ta 2O 5, in excellent agreement with DFT calculations and experiments. We employ our newly parameterized CTIP potential to investigate the early stages of oxidation and atomic scale mechanisms associated with oxide growth on Ta surface at various temperatures. Furthermore, the CTIP potential developed in this work is an invaluable tool to investigate atomic-scale mechanisms and transport phenomena underlying the response of Ta/TaO x interfaces to external stimuli (e.g, temperature, pressure, strain, electric field etc.), as well as other interesting dynamical phenomena including the physics of switching dynamics in TaO x based memristors and neuromorphic devices.« less
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  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Chemistry of Materials
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 29; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 0897-4756
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: