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Microscopic Theory of Resistive Switching in Ordered Insulators: Electronic versus Thermal Mechanisms

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journal contribution
posted on 10.04.2017, 00:00 by Jiajun Li, Camille Aron, Gabriel Kotliar, Jong E. Han
We investigate the dramatic switch of resistance in ordered correlated insulators when they are driven out of equilibrium by a strong voltage bias. Microscopic calculations on a driven-dissipative lattice of interacting electrons explain the main experimental features of resistive switching (RS), such as the hysteretic IV curves and the formation of hot conductive filaments. The energy-resolved electron distribution at the RS reveals the underlying nonequilibrium electronic mechanism, namely Landau–Zener tunneling, and also justifies a thermal description in which the hot-electron temperature, estimated from the first moment of the distribution, matches the equilibrium-phase transition temperature. We discuss the tangled relationship between filament growth and negative differential resistance and the influence of crystallographic structure and disorder in the RS.